Kohliís how-to manual
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Showing symptoms of a man chained down by an impending landmark, Suresh Raina shuffled around uneasily between deliveries. Emptying his lungs often with heavy exhaling puffs, Raina tried steadying his mind with solemn walks to square-leg. But the weekend house at the Chinnaswamy played their part in the left-hander's 'fidgety forties'.
Make no mistake, a fifty in Raina's case is just as valuable as a form-man reaching the three-figure mark. For a No.6 who averages a good run-and-a-half below the 30 mark, a half-century is, well, priceless. And it was invaluable for India too, coming as it did after the hosts were 80/4 when Raina walked in.
It hadn't taken him long to get into the forties, cutting with fierceness off both the front and backfoot to steal bonus boundaries. For once, he had pulled gloriously too, standing up bravely to the fast men's short stuff and rolling his wrists in a gracious, horizontal, arc across his spine. It was, in fact, a pull shot that got him to 43 off 44 balls. Then the tension began.
On 46, he was struck on the pads by offie Jeetan Patel. On 47, he nicked Doug Bracewell just short of gully. On 48, he was stumped by Kruger van Wyk's quick hands. But Patel had chosen the wrong occasion to bowl the third no ball of his six-year long Test career. On 49, the batsman shuttered down for 14 balls.
Then, following much ceremony, Raina nudged Patel past slips and became the first Indian on the day, a gyrating second day of the Test, to raise his bat to the crowds. Such was the relief in the man, that he promptly glanced Tim Southee down the leg side, and into van Wyk's mittens. And returning to the pavilion, he walked past two men ó Virat Kohli and new man MS Dhoni ó who would go on to give him (and everyone concerned) a masterclass in how not to waste a start, let alone hard toil.
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