Ravindra Jadeja has said batting with aggression was his best chance to score runs in the Lord's Test. Jadeja came to the crease with India in a tricky position but smashed his way to a 57-ball 68 - his first Test half-century - that tilted the scales firmly in India's favour.
Jadeja had scored 25 and 31 runs in the first Test in Nottingham using two different methods: while he dashed away in the first innings, hitting two sixes in his 24-ball stay, he appeared uncomfortable during the 98-ball 31 in the second innings. He scored only 3 in the first innings at Lord's.
"I started thinking how I was going to play today and decided that the best way for me is to play my game," Jadeja told bcci.tv. "If I play any differently I won't get runs. So I decided that irrespective of the situation I will back myself and go for my shots. That's the only way I can score runs. When I went in to bat, the team also needed runs."
India had been reduced to 235 for 7, with a lead of 211 soon after the new ball was taken, but Jadeja's counterattack surprised the England bowlers. Sixty-five runs were scored in the first eight overs after lunch with the new ball. Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who had two fifties in the first Test, continued his good form and stuck around with Jadeja as the two added 99 runs for the eight wicket.
"The good thing about our partnership was that both of us were scoring runs fluently and so we didn't let them build pressure from one end," he said. "Bhuvi is in very good form and all his four innings so far have been very important for the team and personally for him. We hope that he continues to score runs throughout the series."
The elaborate celebration - the twirl of the bat - after Jadeja reached his fifty signified the importance of the innings. Jadeja explained later: "It has got to do with a tradition that we have among the Rajpoots. During festivals and special occasions, we have professional sword-fighters perform with a sword in each hand, moving them in that fashion. It's called talwaar baazi. I only had one bat with me so I did it with one hand. I wanted to have a different celebration and so I had decided whenever I get a fifty, I will do that. MS bhai must have seen it and realized what I was doing. So, he was mimicking me."
The pitch, having roughened up, also afforded sharp turn and variable bounce, forcing MS Dhoni to use Jadeja for 16 out of the 46 overs India bowled on the fourth day. With a few scooting along the floor, Dhoni chose to stand further away from the stumps while keeping to Jadeja. "It was because of the foot marks, it was very difficult for the left-hander, as the odd ball was taking off, a few kept low and some turned square," he said.
"We thought it would be a good idea for the keeper to stand back because in case there was a nick, it would be an easy catch for him standing back. And that's exactly what happened in the second last over but then MS was standing up to the stumps."