‘I wanted to be aggressive and positive’

Opener Lokesh Rahul said his intention to stay positive and aggressive on the second day paid off, as he put India on the driver’s seat in the second Test against West Indies.

Opening the innings, Rahul scored a composed 158 on day two to help India finish at 358/5, a lead of 162 runs with still three days to go.

It was the highest individual score for Rahul, who had notched up his maiden ODI hundred on debut in Zimbabwe. This is his third Test ton overall and all three of them have come outside India — Australia, Sri Lanka and now in the Caribbean.

Even so, his place in the eleven is not confirmed yet, as he was a replacement for Murali Vijay and that could change in the near future.

“To me, it didn’t look too difficult. I went in there and started hitting the ball from the first or second ball. Obviously, I’ve been spending a lot of time in the nets. It’s a different challenge once you go out there and when you have the pressure of the game,” he said.

“I tried to keep things simple. I’ve been in good form for the last 3-4 months. I’ve been moving well, and hitting the ball really well. My plan when I went out yesterday was to put the loose balls away and be positive and have a very aggressive intent. I am really happy with the way I batted. I don’t know whether it is easy or tough, but the simplest things if you do it right, it pays off all the time.”

The 24-year-old from Karnataka said he is enjoying his consistent run in all three formats of the game.

“The last couple of months, I’ve been performing well. I’ve been consistent in all the three formats and that’s what I want to do as a cricketer.”

“I’m only watching the ball and trying to judge the ball and if I think the ball is there to be hit, I’m hitting the ball. I’m very happy with the space I’m in and the focus levels have been great.

Rahul put on two solid partnerships, first with Cheteshwar Pujara and then with skipper Virat Kohli.

Pujara batted slowly in the morning session, and then was run-out for 46. In the last session of play, West Indies struck thrice as the new ball did some damage on the rugged pitch.

“I think he batted really well. He had some good leaves outside the off-stump. And you probably have to give a little credit to the West Indies bowlers as well. They came in with a set plan this morning; to keep it tight and not give away easy runs. They tried to bowl the fourth-fifth stump,” he said.

India now leads by 162 runs, with Ajinkya Rahane (42) and Wriddhiman Saha (17) at the crease.

Thunderstorms are predicted for the third day, but the visitors will be looking to force the issue and bat for as long as possible.