KL Rahul India
KL Rahul was class personified in the second Test match against the West IndiesIANS

The sign of a strong team is when somebody, after sitting on the bench and seeing their side pull off an impressive victory, comes into the playing XI for the next game, owing to an injury, and makes the most of that opportunity, putting on such a performance that it gives the captain and coach quite a few selection headaches.

KL Rahul did that and more on the first two days of the second Test, helping himself to his third hundred in just his sixth Test match. After easing to a half-century on day one, Rahul showed patience and composure to march past the three-figure mark, eventually making 158, his career-best in Test match cricket.

"Right now I'm in a good space," Rahul was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo. "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."

Rahul certainly needed to be focused on day two morning, with the West Indies coming out with a smart plan of bowling just outside off stump. With the wicket being a little two-paced, hitting the ball on the up was always going to be a challenge, and both Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara showed restraint in ensuring India would not lose an early wicket in the morning.

In the end, the two batsmen only managed 59 runs in the entire first session – a session in which Rahul got to his hundred as well, with a six, Virender Sehwag style – but that wicketless session proved to be crucial in helping India inch towards a big lead in this second Test match in Jamaica.

"You have to give a little credit to the West Indies bowlers," Rahul said when asked about India's slow progress in the first session. "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 (actually, 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."

India have a 162-run lead going into day three of this Test match, and while most of their main batsmen, including Virat Kohli, are out, there is still enough batting in there to bring that scoreboard pressure into play when the West Indies come out to bat in their second innings.

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