Lokesh Rahul was the cynosure of all eyes at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. The 22-year-old Karnataka right-hander scored his maiden Test century (110) and his 141-run third-wicket stand Virat Kohli helped India split Day 3 honours with Australia in the fourth and final match of the series. Unflappable and in control of his emotions, a genial Rahul spoke on STAR Sports after his wonderful innings. Excerpts from the chat.
On his maiden Test century after the horror debut at Melbourne:
Really delighted with the effort. I was worried after the first match (debut game at Melbourne). I told myself to get the nerves off first at Sydney. Batting second helped because I could read the wicket over two days.
On changes he made to his batting:
After the pull shot at MCG, I told myself to spend more time at the wicket. I was quite low after the Melbourne Test. Handling the short balls was important. Also to leave the good balls was crucial. I focused on these aspects in Sydney
On playing the Australian bowlers:
The Australian bowlers made it harder for us to get runs. The (SCG) wicket was slower and I was happy to battle that period and stuck it out well. To spend time at the middle was very important.
On growing up with Rahul Dravid in Karnataka:
As a young kid, my dad made me sit down and watch a lot of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar videos. Dravid is a legend for us in Karnataka. I was lucky to train and watch him closely. That was really helpful. Dravid helped me with my batting.
On batting with Virat Kohli:
It was great fun batting with him. He brings in so much of positivity. He was the one to tell me to believe in myself after MCG failures. He egged me on at Sydney.
On playing in Australia:
Playing against Australia is a challenge. It is a fantastic experience to play at SCG. Even MCG was a great feeling with so many turning out.