Captain Rahane’s fine century puts India in driver’s seat
Australia vs India, 2nd Test
Melbourne: Trailing 0-1 in the four-match series, India ended the second day at 277 for five for a handy 82-run lead after bowling out Australia for 195 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Ajinkya Rahane played a captain’s knock with a workmanlike century that steered India into a dominant position and took the sting out of Australia”s potent bowling attack in the second Test here on Sunday.
Trailing 0-1 in the four-match series, India ended the second day at 277 for five for a handy 82-run lead after bowling out Australia for 195 at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
At stumps, which was brought early owing to rain, Rahane was going strong on 104 and giving him company was Ravindra Jadeja on 40, the two having added what might prove to be a game-changing 104-run partnership for the sixth wicket.
This was Rahane’s 12th Test hundred and his second at the iconic venue, after a fine 147 during the 2014 tour.
Earlier, Rishabh Pant (29) and Hanuma Vihari (21) frittered away promising starts after doing all the hard work, but Jadeja was determined not to do anything of that sort.
Vihari fell to off-spinner Nathan Lyon while trying to sweep him from outside off-stump after he had added 52 runs for the fourth wicket with his captain.
In came Pant and despite the constant scrutiny around him, the wicketkeeper-batsman showed no nerves and confidently went about playing his strokes.
At the other end, just when Pant was beginning to pose a treat to the hosts, Starc forced an edge to bring the match back on even keel. It was Paine’s 150th dismissal and wicket number 250 for Starc.
The second session saw India score 99 runs after they managed just 54 in the first, during which they also lost two wickets in as many overs to the relentless Cummins.
Resuming on 36 for one, India started cautiously before losing both their overnight batsmen – debutant Shubman Gill and the seasoned Cheteshwar Pujara – in the space of 11 balls to reach 90 for three at lunch.
At lunch, Rahane was batting on 10 and giving him company was Vihari on 13 with India trailing by 105 runs.
The 21-year-old Gill impressed on his debut with a fluent 45 and played some fine shots during his 65-ball knock at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. While Pujara made 17, having faced 70 deliveries.
Australia were soon celebrating again as Cummins picked up the big wicket of Pujara after straightening him up with a brilliant delivery that angled in and moved just enough to induce an edge.
Paine, who lost a review after assuming that Gill had nicked the day’s very first delivery, complemented his top fast bowler by completing a fine diving catch.