AUSTRALIA. Melbourne: A masterclass century by Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane and his sixth-wicket unfinished partnership of 104 runs with Ravindra Jadeja put India in a commanding position on the second day of the second test match between India and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
It is Rahane’s twelfth century in test cricket and perhaps one of the best centuries in the context of the match. His century came in 195 balls with 10 hits to the fence. He showed a wonderful display of character, tenacity, and patience while playing the Australian bowlers. Coming to bat when India was at 68 for 2, he was very cautious at the start of his innings. But, he was more confident in moving his front foot forward as compared to his previous innings when he was a little bit hesitant to play forward. Rahane’s innings was a knock of sheer class and elan. Due to his innings, India managed to finish the day at 277 for 5 with 82 runs first-innings lead.
Two wickets before lunch
India began the innings with an overnight score of 38 for 1.
Shubman Gill hit some good shots before giving a nick to Australian captain and wicket-keeper Tim Paine for 45. Pujara on the other hand was struggling to score runs. Finally, his torturous stay on the wicket came to an end when he nicked it to the wicketkeeper. After his departure, Hanuma Vihari joined Rahane to lay a solid foundation. However, the fourth-wicket partnership of 52 runs came to end when Vihari tried to sweep Nathan Lyon and was caught by Smith for 21.
A little cameo from Pant
With 116 for 4, Rishabh Pant joined his captain and soon began to show his intention. He started to drive and cut in his typical fashion. His two drives to Pat Cummins was a treat to watch. Pant’s free-flowing shots put Australian fielding in defensive mode. Instead of looking for wickets, fielders were placed to stop the flow of runs. His short innings of 29 and a good partnership with Rahane put India in the driver seat. But, Pant’s impatience costed him. While trying to cut the ball which was very close to the body, he snicked it to the wicketkeeper.
Unfinished sixth-wicket partnership
After Pant’s departure, Ravindra Jadeja joined the well-settled Rahane. The duo started to score the runs freely. Especially, Rahane who played some really beautiful shots. His drives and cuts to fast bowlers were a delight to watch. Jadeja showed great restrain in leaving balls outside the off-stump. His pushes and nudges always kept the scoreboard moving.
Just before his century, Rahane got a reprieve when he was dropped by Smith on the bowling of Starc. Unfudged by the dropped chance, he cut Cummins to complete his century in style. He remained not out on 104 and Jadeja on 40 when the rain stopped the play.