With their backs against the wall, Cheteshwar Pujara welcomed Ajinkya Rahane at the crease, as the two batsmen charted out their plans. Before the Lord’s Test, both Pujara and Rahane were under the scanners for their performance in the last few Tests, making the situation extremely crucial for them. India were teetering at 55/3, before the duo stitched on a 100-run partnership for the fourth wicket, battling out nearly 50 overs in the innings on day four.
Ahead of the third Test in Headingley, India’s vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane stated that his second innings contribution of 61 off 146 deliveries was extremely satisfying. Alongside that, Rahane also stated that he isn’t overly concerned about the criticism that has been surrounding his form.
"I am happy that people are talking about me. I have always believed that people talk about important people, so I am not too concerned about that. It's all about contribution for the team," Rahane said ahead of the third Test.
"I always believed in contribution and that contribution was satisfying. Everything motivates me. playing for the country motivates me. I am not bothered about criticism."
"You think about your own game but team performance is ultimate. You think about your methods, your good innings and what suits you but ultimately whatever team needs we focus on that."
Rahane also credited that ‘trust’ was an important component in his partnership with Pujara, where they had short targets during the course of the innings.
"The communication was all about short targets and build it on from there. Cheteshwar, we always talk that he plays slow but that innings was really important for us. He batted for 200 balls. We back each other.
"Cheteshwar and I have been playing since long, we know how to handle pressure, how to handle certain situations. Whatever we can't control, we are not thinking about that," he said.
The Indian vice-captain also insisted that the bowlers have learned to bowl in the right areas, with the pacers picking up 39 wickets in the series.
"When you are playing in the UK, your line and lengths are very important and that's a challenge as a bowling unit. 2014 when we came here, we were a young unit, the guys were still learning. Now we are experienced.
"All the bowlers have played all over the world, they know how to bowl in ceratin situation. We focussed on bowling in right areas."
With the partnership between Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah turning the corner for India, Rahane stated that it was a good sign to see a contribution from the bowlers with the bat, especially in a five-match Test series, where momentum can swing either way, based on one session.
"This tail partnership mentally exhausts the batsmen. That was a good sign for us in last matches. Credit to them. They themselves want to bat after bowling, it feels good to know they want to contribute with the bat as well."
The 33-year-old also confirmed that Shardul Thakur has returned from his injury and is fit for selection ahead of the Headingley Test.
"He is ready for selection. We just have to see what combination we are going with. About rotation, we got very good break after the last Test so all the fast bowlers are ready to play, which is a very good sign," he concluded.
(With inputs from PTI)