Ajinkya Rahane smashed his first century in two years to help India achieve victory in the first Test against West Indies in Antigua. (Image credit: Twitter)
Heading into the Antigua Test, Ajinkya Rahane was under pressure. The Mumbai right-hander had not scored a century since the 2017 Test against Sri Lanka at the Sinhalese Sports Club. In 2018 and 2019, Rahane struggled and after failing in the first innings of the warm-up game against West Indies A, questions were raised over his position in the team. At North Sound, Rahane silenced the critics in style. In the first innings, he smashed 81 and helped India recover after the top-order were sent back to the pavilion cheaply. In the second innings, Rahane scored a century after 29 innings and said it was an emotional moment.
"I thought 10th hundred was really special. I wasn't thinking about any particular celebration, it came out automatically. I was a little bit emotional. t took me two years to get that 10th hundred. As I said the process always matters to me a lot. Preparations before each and every series is very important. I was actually doing that throughout the two years, and so 10th hundred was really special. It definitely felt really special for me I got to know what it takes to get a century after two years. I've been working really hard on my batting. But I wasn't thinking much about by hundred or milestone for me. What was important was to get my team into a good position, we were 140 runs ahead with three wickets down. That partnership with Virat (Kohli) was really crucial," Rahane said.
The right-hander had come out to bat in the first innings when India had lost Mayank Agarwal, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli cheaply. Rahane shared a 68-run stand with KL Rahul and a 82-run stand with Hanuma Vihari to boost India. Rahane described the situation and his game plan.
"We were under pressure. I thought West Indies bowled really well throughout that day. It was an opportunity for me to do something special for my team. I think because of the situation I wasn't thinking about myself because it was important to get that partnership going - one player had to bat and we knew that. I thought it was something special for me personally as well because we knew we were in a difficult position at that point of time and happily we did really well and came back strongly from that point," Rahane said.