Indian opener Lokesh Rahul on Monday said that the thumping 248-run win in the second Test here will help his side renew their confidence as well as help them to go and win the series later in the third Test against Sri Lanka.
The batsman was named Man of the Match for his second Test hundred in the first innings of the match.
Focus now shifts on the third Test to be played here as well, at the SSC ground, where India will be looking to win a series in Sri Lanka after two decades.
“We had a very positive frame of mind to forget what happened in the first Test and bounce back like this. We are going to draw a lot of confidence from this game and go on to the next game with a more positive and clear mind. We will look to win the series,” Rahul said.
“We didn’t plan against any particular bowler (after the Galle defeat),” said Rahul after India wrapped up the win on day five.
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“We just had a batting plan to be positive and go out there to attack the bowlers and look for runs. We are all positive players and want to take on the bowlers. We like to keep getting runs so that was our plan and it worked out beautifully for us in this game.”
India’s first-choice wicket keeper Wriddhiman Saha was injured while batting on day four, and Rahul then donned the gloves for the second innings. Naman Ojha has been named the replacement for the third Test even as Rahul did a fine job on days four and five.
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“I have always enjoyed keeping. I used to keep earlier for my state and later didn’t have much chance to keep. But keep myself ready if ever anyone wants me to keep. It’s unfortunate that Saha had to miss out with injury but I am
very happy to take over the gloves.
“Then today, on the first ball of the day, taking a catch like that, Angelo Mathews was an important wicket for us. He has been batting well and he was a key wicket for us. So getting him out was nice and it set up the mood for us,” said
When asked if he was open to the idea of keeping and opening in Test cricket, he replied, “I don’t know. I haven’t figured that out myself yet. I have always enjoyed keeping wickets as it is something that comes very naturally to me.
“After junior cricket if the team wanted me to keep in a one-off/odd match or if anyone got injured I was up for it. I
kept in one-dayers and T20s. “It is easier for me in those formats because then I have to open the batting again. But in Tests if I have to bat and open the batting, I am not used to that. But doing something like this if the team requires you to do it, I am willing to do it.”
Keeping to spinners was a tough ask on this day five pitch, but Rahul proved equal to the task against R Ashwin and Amit Mishra, missing only a stumping late in the second innings which didn’t prove too costly.
“I looked at it more as an opportunity to stay behind the stumps and see what their variations are. It was a chance to understand the wicket better in the fourth innings.
“Some day I might have to bat on the fourth day and play a quality bowler, maybe even in the next match. So from behind the stumps I can get a better view and better understanding of what the bowler is trying to do, how he is trying to get a batsman out. I didn’t think it would be a stress,” he said.
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