India stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane matches Virat Kohli’s feat, slams superb century against Australia in Melbourne

Ajinkya Rahane slammed his 12th Test century and first as captain as India drove away the advantage on Day 2 of the second Test against Australia on Sunday.

Rahane got to his century with a square cut off Pat Cummins’ ball that raced away to the fence.

Rahane, who is captaining India in place of Virat Kohli (on paternity leave) struck his second century on Australian soil – both of them came at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. His first ton in Australia came during the 2014-15 tour.

India vs Australia live score 2nd Test Day 2

Rahane also became the second Indian cricketer to score a ton on his first match as captain in Australia. Kohli was the first one to do it in 2014 when he slammed a century in Adelaide.

Some nuggets on Ajinkya Rahane’s century

– 1st Test century for Rahane after 8 intervening innings. His last Test century was of 115 runs against SA at Ranchi in 2019.

· 1st Test century for Rahane in Australia after 12 intervening innings. His last Test century in Australia came at the same MCG in 2014.

· 1st Test century for Rahane against Australia after 19 intervening innings.

· 8th visiting batsman and 2nd Indian to score multiple century at MCG in Tests.

Rahane increased his scoring rate several notches when Australia took the second new ball to take India past the 250-run mark. He was on 73 off 167 balls when the second new ball was taken. He scored the remaining 27 runs off just 28 balls.

Along with Ravindra Jadeja, Rahane stitched a crucial century stand for the sixth wicket as India went past Australia’s first innings total of 195 in the final session of Day 2 after a slight a rain delay.

Rahane was unbeaten on 104 and Jadeja was batting on 40 as India ended Day 2 in a commanding position with 277 for 5 on the board as rain forced early stumps. India lead Australia by 89 runs.

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India were 189 for five in reply to Australia’s first innings 195 before rain brought tea a few balls early on a steamy afternoon.

India had resumed on 90 for three after lunch with Rahane and Hanuma Vihari looking to mow down Australia’s modest total.

The pair batted judiciously for a tense half-hour against the pace-and-spin combination of Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon before Rahane sent a shudder through the India camp by calling for a trainer.

A physio worked on his lower back for several minutes before he retook the crease.

Vihari managed only one more scoring shot, a deft late cut for four off Lyon, before he was dismissed the next ball with an ungainly sweep at the spinner.

Completely misjudging the flight of the delivery, Vihari had the ball ping off his glove behind the wicket where Steve Smith took the easiest of catches.

Recalled wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant joined Rahane at the crease and rejuvenated the Indian innings, roughing up Pat Cummins with a pair of fours in one over and also working over Lyon.

Mitchell Starc was introduced and the rangy left-arm paceman struck in the second over of his spell to have Pant caught behind for 29.

A two-wicket burst by Cummins in the morning had earlier rallied Australia after India resumed the day on 36 for one.

Cummins denied debutant Shubman Gill (45) a half-century and also dismissed India’s number three Cheteshwar Pujara for 17 in a fiery five-ball burst midway through the session.

Cummins broke the pair’s 61-run partnership with a ball that teased Gill into a tentative push away from the body, sending a nick through to wicketkeeper and captain Tim Paine.

Cummins then coaxed a thick edge from Pujara, with Paine diving to his right to snaffle a brilliant one-handed catch.

Australia lead the four-test series 1-0 after thrashing India by eight wickets within three days at the Adelaide Oval.

(With agency inputs)

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