India were bowled out for 280 in their first innings but they clawed back brilliantly to leave the hosts at 213 for six at close in an action-packed day two match on Thursday. (Agencies)
"We wanted to bat as long as possible, but that did not happen. Virat Kohli batted well for his hundred (on the first day) and we had three crucial partnerships, so I can say the batting unit has done very well. Our second innings will be very crucial," Rahane, who contributed 47 runs to the Indian total, said on Thursday after the second day's play in the ongoing first Test here.
"South Africa are still trailing us by 67 runs. We need to continue to bowl well and take wickets of their tail. Then we need to bat well, because chasing 275 runs on this pitch will be a challenge," he said.
Rahane said his experience of South African conditions as part of India 'A' team earlier in the year has helped him.
"Batting on this pitch is not difficult, but challenging because South Africa pace attack is very good. Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel are experienced bowlers. I just wanted to bat in my limitations and take my time in the middle. I have an experience of 65 first-class games, so that helped," he said.
"Also, I toured here in August as part of India A team, so experience of the conditions from that time also helped me," Rahane added.
India lost five wickets for 16 runs in the morning session on Thursday and then themselves took five for 16 post-tea to reduce the hosts to 146/6 before Vernon Philander (48 batting) and Faf du Plessis (17 batting) rescued them with an unbroken 67-run partnership for the seventh wicket.
South Africa still trailing India by 67 runs
India could have been in a better position had they held their catches. R Ashwin dropped Graeme Smith on 19 (Smith hit 68) and Rohit Sharma dropped du Plessis late in the day.
"This is part and parcel of the game. We need to back our teammates and give them confidence," Rahane said.
India were bowled out for 280 in their first innings but they clawed back brilliantly to leave the hosts at 213 for six at close in an action-packed day two match on Thursday.