March 6, 2017 / 1:44 PM / in 7 months

India batting coach urges Rahul to be more responsible

BENGALURU (Reuters) - India opener Lokesh Rahul must improve his temperament and put a bigger price on his wicket, the team’s batting coach Sanjay Bangar said on Monday.

Cricket - India v Australia - Second Test cricket match - M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, India - 06/03/17 - India's Lokesh Rahul plays a shot. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The 24-year-old scored his third half-century of the series against Australia and the second of the match at his home venue at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in the second test on Monday but has been often criticised for playing injudicious shots.

With India playing with an extra bowler in the last couple of years, it has been a conscious effort from the batsmen to try to play long innings and not concentrate on personal milestones, Bangar said.

“It’s not being happy with a 50 or 100 but batsmen who are wanting to go that extra mile, put in the hard work and play a big innings which will have an eventual impact on the state of the match,” the former India all-rounder told reporters.

“That is something all the boys have been doing. Rahul was very disappointed and we definitely had a chat.”

In the first test at Pune he was on 64 when he got out trying to hit left-arm spinner Steve O‘Keefe for a six on a turning track. His dismissal started a batting collapse as the hosts lost seven wickets for 11 runs to be bundled out for 105.

In Bengaluru, Rahul fell to a wild slog against off-spinner Nathan Lyon for 90 as looked to get to his century and on Monday he was out to a brilliant catch by Australia skipper Steve Smith going for an expansive drive off O‘Keefe.

“It’s something that we want him to improve in the games to come because he is a quality player,” Bangar said.

“Probably in the series and matches to come, he will definitely put a price on his wicket and we’ll see less of those unforced errors.”

The hosts compiled three consecutive 600-plus totals before the Pune test and their last three innings have all been under 200.

With India leading by 126 runs with six second innings wickets in hand, Bangar said the game was in balance.

“I think it will be a tough surface for both the teams and the cracks are going to get wider with time. At the moment, the match is very much in balance,” he said.

“I think if we put up a good show in the next two sessions then we will slightly have our nose ahead.”

Editing by Ed Osmond

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