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Ravichandran Ashwin lauds 'batting machine' Lokesh Rahul

India Today logo India Today 31-07-2016
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Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin heaped praise on teammate Lokesh Rahul after the opening batsman went on to make a solid 75 on the opening day of the Jamaica Test against West Indies.

After winning the opening Test of the four-match series in Antigua, the visitors are comfortably placed after the first day in Kingston.

India made use of the damp conditions on Saturday after West Indies surprised quite a few by opting to bat first. However Jason Holder's decision backfired as Indian bowlers, led by Ashwin, wreaked havoc and bowled out the hosts for 196. Ishant Sharma struck twice early and was ably supported by Mohammed Shami as West Indies were given a taste of their own medicine on a pace-rich Sabina Park track.

While the hosts' batsmen were finding it hard to survive, the Indian batsmen were on top of their game. Openers Lokesh Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan stitched an 87-run stand before off-spinner Roston Chase struck to remove the latter. However, Rahul remained unfazed and was unbeaten at stumps on Day 1.

Watch: 'Lokesh great package for Team India'

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'BATTING MACHINE'

Ashwin revealed he had named Rahul 'batting machine' and that it wasn't surprising to see the Karnataka batsman piling up runs.

"I've nicknamed him batting machine. He keeps batting all the time and it's not a surprise that he's made runs and I'm very happy for him," Ashwin said.

Rahul made an instant impact after being included in the Test squad during the 2014 tour to Australia. The right-hander scored his maiden century Down Under in his second Test at Sydney. Rahul also scored a match-winning century in the second Test of India's victorious tour to Sri Lanka last year.

'QUALITY CRICKETER'

"He has two Test centuries in two countries, and it doesn't really matter because two Test centuries are huge. And from what I think about Rahul, he's a fine player. We all know that he's a quality cricketer," Ashwin said.

"He's made a lot of runs in First Class cricket. And when he has made hundreds for us, it has been crucial knocks. He made one in Sri Lanka, which is very memorable.

Not just the longer format of the game, Rahul established himself in T20 and one-day international cricket as well. He starred for Royal Challengers Bangalore in the recently concluded Indian Premier League season. Also, the 24-year-old became the first Indian to score a century on ODI debut when he scored an unbeaten hundred against Zimbabwe earlier this year.

"As a matter of fact, the way he played in the IPL, it's just an extension. Everybody wants Rahul to do well, which is a big tick for him," Ashwin said.

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