Talking Point: Rahul equals world record but misses ton again

Talking Point: Rahul equals world record but misses ton again

Last Updated: Sat, Aug 12, 2017 18:41 hrs
KL Rahul made yet another fifty but failed to convert it into a ton

Before the start of day's play, legendary cricketer Sunil Gavaskar lavished praise on India opener KL Rahul. "He is a great prospect," Gavaskar said and by Lunch on Day one of the third Test at Pallekele, Rahul once again proved why he is India's first choice opener.

Rahul entered record books by becoming the first Indian to join an exclusive club of batsmen who scored the most consecutive half-centuries in Test history.

He might have missed out on yet another century but Rahul's 85 helped him join the likes of Sir Everton Weekes (1948-49), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (2000-01), Andy Flower (2006-07), Kumar Sangakkara (2013-14) and Chris Rogers (2014-15) in scoring as many as seven fifties consecutively in Tests.

The right-hander achieved this feat in the 2016-17 season. Rahul's record half-century and Dhawan's sixth Test ton ensured India hold the advantage after Sri Lanka staged a brilliant fight back. Although the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane had an off day, India at stumps were 329/6.

The opening session of the Test belonged to the Indian openers as they milked the bowling attack to put on 188 runs for the opening wicket, bettering the record of 171-run stand between Manoj Prabhakar and Navjot Singh Sidhu (1993).

In the second Test at Colombo, Rahul scored 57 in India's only innings. That knock helped him equal the Indian record, six consecutive Test fifties. Gundappa Viswanath and Rahul Dravid are the other two Indians with most consecutive fifties in Test cricket.

After 18 matches, Rahul, who averages close to 45 in Tests has scored four hundreds and on most occasions has given solid starts for India. His last century came against England at Chennai where he missed out on a double ton by just one run.

Apart from a couple of disappointing shows against Bangladesh, Rahul's consistent show with the bat has earned his praise from all quarters.

Against Australia, Rahul made 64 and 10 at Pune in the first Test, scored 90 and 51 at Bengaluru, hit a fine 67 at Ranchi and ended the series with scores of 60 and 51 not out in Dharamsala.

However, in the 18 Test matches he has played so far, injuries have sidelined him for at least 10 Test matches. But once he is padded up, Rahul makes most of the chances and despite not converting the starts into big ones, he fulfills the needs of the team.

In a recent interview to a website, Rahul said that not converting the starts into big hundreds will make him more hungry.

"I've never chased numbers, firstly. My job as an opening batsman is to give the team a good start, lay a solid foundation and I think I've done that so far. Disappointing that I have not been able to convert that, but I think that will keep me more hungry. Each time I go back to bat, I will want to get more and more runs.

"I'm learning from my mistakes. Each time I've done a silly mistake and that's how it is. Life of a batsman is... you might play 60 balls perfectly and then one ball you get out. We were discussing that in the dressing room just today. You played so well... all the guys, whoever got out, were playing so well and never looked like getting out and one ball has your name on it and you have to get out. Might as well enjoy the time you're in the middle and get as many runs as you can."

It seems Rahul scores half-centuries for fun but given the talent and support he receives from the skipper and team management, big daddy hundreds might just be around the corner.

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