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Ajinkya Rahane holds onto a brilliant one-handed catch to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara for 40 on the third day of the first Test at the Galle International Stadium.

Sa’adi Thawfeeq reporting from Galle

GALLE: The new world record holder for the highest number of catches held in a Test match Ajinkya Rahane said the advice he received from former Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid helped him immensely.

Rahane took eight catches in the two Sri Lanka innings of the ongoing first Test at the Galle International Stadium to erase the previous record of seven that was jointly held by Greg Chappell, Yajuvindra Singh, Hashan Tillakaratne, Stephen Fleming and Mathew Hayden.

“We had a very good talk during IPL as to what he (Dravid) used to do when he stood in the slips. He told me that focus and concentration
were the really important things,” said Rahane.

“In Test matches sometimes the ball will not come for a long time and suddenly you have to grab that one chance that comes. That temperament has to be there and I have been working on my slip catching and my overall fielding. Credit to the support staff as well. They did a good job. So happy the way I fielded.”

Dravid is the world’s leading fielder in Test cricket with 210 catches.

Rahane established the world record when he caught Sri Lanka number nine Rangana Herath off Amit Mishra in the second innings of the third day which was his fifth of the innings.

“I didn’t know until Vijay and Umesh came and told me that this is a world record for you. I was quite surprised,” said Rahane,

When Kumar Sangakkara and Angelo Mathews were defying India with a threatening partnership of 87 Rahane pulled off a fine catch to dismiss Sangakkara and give India the breakthrough they so badly needed.

“I was completely focussing on the present moment because we all knew that one wicket at that point will give us that momentum. Actually, that wicket gave us the momentum and immediately Mathews got out,” said Rahane.

“So my motto was to stay focussed all the time in the slips because the ball was turning at that time and Ashwin and Bhajji pa were bowling really well. I just wanted to focus and keep concentrating and each and every ball.

“I normally stand at gully for fast bowlers but this time Virat (Kohli) told me to stand at slip for the spinners. I have been practising that before the Test series. Even during the series we have been taking 50 to 100 catches every day. So that’s worked for us.”

Rahane said that India’s intention at the start of the third day was to give Sri Lanka as little runs as possible.

“If you see in the first innings, when we gave less runs, the chances of wickets went up. So we had to bowl well and the wickets would come. (Dinesh) Chandimal batted well. He counter-attacked. We didnt bowl badly but he hit shots of good balls. Credit should go to him,” said Rahane.

India will start the fourth day at 23-1 chasing 176 and Rahane said that they must stay positive if they are to achieve the target.
“Our intention is to stay positive. Virat and Shikhar got very good hundreds in the first innings. Each and every batsman is in good
touch. So I am confident about tomorrow. Yes, we have to bat well. We respect the opposition. Focus and concentration will be the key for
the first one hour. Later on we will try and get the score as quickly as possible,” Rahane said.