Colombo: Indian batsman Ajinkya Rahane on Sunday said that his team will have to bowl with a lot of patience on fifth day tomorrow in their pursuit of victory in the second cricket Test against Sri Lanka here.
Chasing 413, Sri Lanka finished day four at 72 for two, needing another 341 runs for victory, while India need to get eight more wickets for a win.
"I think the match is poised pretty well. We just have to be in the present because throughout the four days we played some good cricket," said Rahane after the fourth day's play.
"It is important to be in the present. And tomorrow, we need to take it one wicket at a time. We just need to be patient, that will be the key, because this wicket is getting slower and slower. There will be good partnerships but one good session for us and we can win this Test," he added.
Having played a stellar role to take India to a total of 325 for eight declared in their second innings, thereby taking an overall lead of 412 runs, Rahane (126) said his partnerships with Murali Vijay (82) and Rohit Sharma (34) proved to be crucial.
"Building a partnership was the crucial aspect of our batting today. So we were looking to build a partnership. Vijay was batting well at the other end and our communication was very good. We were talking a lot in the middle. The partnership between Rohit and me was also very crucial," pointed out Rahane.
"Even in the first innings, Virat (Kohli) and (KL) Rahul played very positively. In the second innings, we wanted to be in the present but at the same time, we wanted to dominate their bowling. I think the partnership between Vijay and myself gave us that momentum. Virat and Rohit came in and took their time. I feel that intent has to be there and results will follow automatically," he added.
This was Rahane's first Test ton in the subcontinent, with the previous three coming in New Zealand, England and Australia.
"When I got out in the first innings, I was very hurt," said the centurion about his first innings' score of four.
"I worked with batting coach Sanjay Bangar and we came earlier and did some throw downs. So his hard work and Ravi Shastri's inputs really helped me in the second innings. My aim was to play as close to my body as possible and later on just build my innings. So I was just looking to play the ball, take my time and once I was set I wanted to play a long innings," said Rahane.
Rahane batted at a new position in this Test -- number three -- after Rohit was moved down the order to number five. Asked if he had any preference for a particular batting spot, the batsman replied, "I fit in everywhere, so my aim is to bat wherever the team feels it is right. But batting at number three gave me a lot of happiness.
"After getting out cheaply in the first innings, I was happy with the way I applied myself. I think my focus and concentration level was very good in the second innings, and as a Test batsman that hunger for runs was there. I am happy to bat at number three and score a hundred for my team."
Talking about Rohit moving down the order, he said, "Just a day before the Test match, the management told me that I have to be batting at number three. I feel even Rohit is open-minded. He also accepted that challenge in a positive way. It is important to have a positive mindset as a player, especially when you are representing your country.
"Rohit and I have played many games together, so we know each other's game very well. Today also when we were batting, our motto was to build a partnership and play till tea. It's important to have an open mindset."
India were leading by 370-odd runs going into tea today but they still came out to bat for another nine overs after the break, which led to some debate over India's timing of declaration but Rahane said the 400-plus total give the team confidence.
"There was no major plan. We just wanted to play session by session. We didn't want to think too far. We knew if we played normal cricket, runs would come. As a batsman, I didn't feel the need to take any risks as the singles and doubles were coming. The running between the wickets was very good.
"After tea is when we deliberated upon setting them a target and how much time we should be giving our bowlers to take 10 wickets. 400-odd runs give us enough time and space for our bowlers to have a crack at them," Rahane signed off.