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Watching Chanderpaul and Samuels to bat helped me: Mukund

Barbados: After contributing to India`s cause by scoring 48 runs in the second innings, opener Abhinav Mukund said he took inspiration from the rival batting line-up.

"Sitting at forward short leg and watching (Marlon) Samuels and (Shivnarine) Chanderpaul bat, I took a leaf (out of their book)," said Mukund after his career-boosting knock at the Kensington Oval on Friday.

"The two were playing too late. Chanderpaul was leaving a lot of balls which were close (to the off stump) also. I too wanted to play as late and leave as many as possible," remarked Mukund who shared an important 63-run second wicket stand with Rahul Dravid.

His innings somewhat redeemed the tour for Mukund after his failures in the first three Test knocks of his international career.

"We (the two openers) didn`t have enough time to adjust. We landed here just three days before (the first Test). It`s been tough, I can be honest about it. The bounce is really steep. But I feel it`s good for me that I have played in tough conditions."

Mukund was hit on his helmet by one such steep bouncer from Edwards and he remembers the delivery as a really quick one.

"Any human being will tell you (it hurts). When you are hit, your body tells you are at war. It`s a state of shock. But I wanted to convince myself I could face Test bowling." Mukund said a punched drive he executed off Edwards in the second innings of the first Test gave him a lot of confidence.

"I remember the shot I played in the second innings of the first Test, punching Fidel (Edwards) for four. I felt confident that I could straight drive too (at this level)."

Mukund revealed he couldn`t sleep much ahead of his first Test at Jamaica last week.

"I didn`t sleep much on the night before the first Test. My body clock wasn`t set either. I remember the first over I played in Test cricket. I was nervous but I didn`t try to do anything about it."

Having been nervous, it still surprised most that Mukund preferred to take first strike rather than his more experienced partner Murali Vijay go for it.

"I told him that I would take the first strike. I have always taken the first strike, even at Ranji Trophy level. It isn`t as if he didn`t want to face first."

Mukund termed it a fortunate coincidence that he has played with the first five batters of the present Indian line-up.

"I am fortunate that I have played with all the first five batters previously. It is a really comfortable atmosphere in the dressing room.

"Having batted with Dravid today, you learn a lot. He is gutsy, he keeps talking to himself in the centre. He kept telling me watch the ball, watch the ball."

Mukund termed the Kensington Oval pitch as unpredictable.

"A few deliveries rise off a length. The new ball holds the key, for them and for us as well. If the weather is good,, it could be a good Test match."

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