India had ended day one of the Sabina Park Test 126 for 1 in reply to West Indies' 196. They had scored at a run rate of 3.40 per over. On day two, India added 232 to their overnight total, at a scoring rate of 2.64 an over, to go to stumps 162 ahead with five wickets in hand. KL Rahul, who went on to score a career-best 158, reckoned that West Indies' bowling discipline on day two had made it difficult for India's batsmen to score quickly.
"Well look, you probably have to give a little credit to the West Indies bowlers as well," he said. "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 channel. The wicket obviously isn't the easiest to bat on. It is a little spongy sometimes, and two-paced. So you couldn't play through the line or go after the bowlers when they bowled those channels.
"It's a Test match, you have all the time in the world. We have bundled them out for 180 (196), and we still had four days to go. We were in no hurry, so we could take our time and wait for the loose balls. I think we played really well in the first session. We gave the West Indies bowlers and the lengths and lines they were bowling the respect it demanded. At the end of the day, we have still gotten the amount of runs we wanted to get. We are very happy as a batting unit."
In the first session, Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara scored 59 runs at 2.27 an over, and denied West Indies the early breakthroughs they must have hoped to make. Having moved to 46, Pujara was run out in the tenth over after lunch, continuing a sequence of innings in which he has failed to convert starts into bigger scores. Rahul said Pujara was "doing all the processes right", and was confident a big innings was around the corner.
"I think he's batting really, really well," Rahul said. "I think his judgment outside the off stump was fabulous and his discipline was really good. When the bowler keeps bowling the fourth-fifth stump channel, the easiest thing to do is to try and place down to third man or try and go over cover or point. You may connect one or two, but you could give a catch to the slips.
"He did the hard thing [by leaving as many balls as he could]. He did the hard yards, but unfortunately he got out at the wrong time. Had he stayed till the end, he would have scored 100 more runs in the next two sessions. It's unfortunate, but I think he'll be happy that he is doing his processes right. The outcome is sometimes not in our hands.
"We know how much of a run-hungry guy he is and it will make him hungrier and I'm sure big runs are coming his way in the third and fourth Tests."
Rahul's hundred was his third in Test cricket, and had come in only his sixth match. He has had to wait for his opportunities, with M Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan established as India's first-choice opening combination, but he came into the match with form behind him, in the shape of a breakthrough IPL season and an ODI hundred on debut.
"The last couple of months, I've been performing well," he said. "I've been consistent in all the three formats and that's what I want to do as a cricketer, to be consistent in all the three formats. Go out there, and play to the best of my abilities, and play my roles and responsibilities for the team.
"Right now I'm in a good space. 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. That doesn't change. That's the only thing that doesn't change with T20, one-day or four-day cricket - when the ball is there to be hit, you hit the ball. That's the only thing that runs in my mind. I'm very happy with the space I'm in and the focus levels have been great."