India’s batting coach Vikram Rathour said a score of 250 or more would be ‘reasonable’ considering the conditions at the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final against New Zealand in Southampton. India are 146 for 3 after a start-stop day 2 which was frequently interrupted by bad light. The first day was wiped out by rain, but the game does have a sixth day as a reserve.
“We’re looking to play sessions well. If we can do that, anything more than 250 will be a reasonable score in these conditions," Rathour said in the press conference after the day’s play.
“Once the ball got older, it swung more. They hit better areas as a bowling unit as well. But once again, in the last session you saw the runs were coming as well. That’s how the game will go, you will always have something for the bowlers. We’ll have to bat sessions."
Rathour gave credit to all the batsmen, especially Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill who added 62 for the opening wicket.
“Virat and Ajinkya batted well. I’d give a lot of credit to Rohit and Gill as well. Tough wicket, overcast conditions. Credit to all the batters, they showed good restraint. We have ended the day very well," he said.
Rathour explained that the strategy by Gill to come down the track was to counter swing, and also look for scoring chances. He said one of the openers will make it big at some stage in the tour.
“Shubman coming down… was to counter the swing as well. The discussion as a batting group was to look for runs when there is an opportunity, it was good to see," he said.
“They (Shubman and Rohit) can attack and put pressure on the bowling. Unfortunately, both got out together today. But one of the days I’m sure one of them is going to make it big. Both of them can put a lot of pressure on the bowling sides."
Asked whether time batted or runs scored is the ideal parameter to judge an opener in these conditions, Rathour said:
“It’s important to spend some time. But for me, it’s important to score runs. You have to show intent. In these conditions, you need discipline to score runs. Rohit and Gill did that today, showed good intent.
“There’s a lot of communication happening with batsmen even during lockdown/breaks as well. We have one on one conversation on how they’d like to approach the tour. There was good intent today. We had a pretty reasonable day today."
Rathour was asked about Cheteshwar Pujara being hit on the helmet by a Neil Wagner bouncer.
“Not really concerned about Pujara getting hit on the helmet. Pace is not an issue for him, that’s not a problem for him. He batted solid even today, he has a role to play for us. He played 50+ balls, he just needs to convert one of these starts and I’m sure it will come soon."