Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane etched his name in history books on the second day of the ongoing Test as he became just the second Indian skipper after Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar to score a Test hundred against Australia in a Boxing Day Test.
Rahane had come into this Test carrying a lot of mental baggage. His poor call in the last Test had cost a set, Virat Kohli, his wicket; one that triggered a fateful collapse; his own form hadn’t been good; he had scored a duck during that shambolic 36 all-out in Adelaide leading to fans and former cricketers questioning his place in the team.
Above all, he had the arduous task of lifting his team from the lows of that horrific collapse in the first Test and spearheading it in the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli. Add all this to the fact that Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood had their tail up after the former had knocked over both Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara, reducing India to 3/64.
But as they say, adversity sometimes transforms you into a beast; a beast who is desperate to prove his detractors wrong; a beast who wants to overcome all the odds; a beast who sees adversity as an opportunity to prove himself to the entire world.
Mental scars of 36, lean form, people calling for axe, responsibility of lifting the side from the shambles of Adelaide, spicy pitch, a top-drawer attack consistently asking difficult questions, team under the pump.
If this isn't one of the great Test hundreds, then what is?
— Yash Mittal ?? (@im_yash2307) December 27, 2020
Gutsy Ajinkya Rahane sets a precedent on how one should react to adversity
Ajinkya Rahane proved to be that silent beast for India today. Coming into bat at a precarious position, Ajinkya was pretty circumspect initially and he along with Hanuma Vihari ensured that India did not lose any more wickets in the morning session.
While Hanuma Vihari threw his wicket away after doing all the hard work after Lunch, a dodged Rahane continued to dig deep. He found an able ally in Rishabh Pant, whose counterattacking display not only deflated the Australian bowling unit but also allowed the Indian skipper to break free Nd play with a bit more freedom.
And, out came those punchy drives, ferocious square-cuts, nonchalant flicks sandwiched between cheeky singles and doubles. Pant eventually departed after he nicked off to Mitchell Starc but Rahane, along with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja went on to stitch an unbeaten 104-run stand, one that helped India bloat their first innings lead to 82 runs.
Given the amount of pressure that Rahane was in in the leadup to the Test, the quality of the opposition’s bowling attack and the demons of 36 all-out, and India’s precarious position, the Mumbai batsman’s innings will go down as one of the greatest-ever knocks played by an Indian captain in overseas conditions.
The moment finally arrived in the 88 over when Ajinkya Rahane square-cut Pat Cummins for a boundary. Soaking the applause by the MCG crowd, Rahane stood there in the middle with his bat in the air and eyes (possibly wet) staring at the sky as a mark of humble gratitude towards the almighty. This was Ajinkya Rahane’s first overseas hundred in Test cricket in six years. His last hundred in a SENA country had also came at the MCG back in 2014.
And, thanks to the unbeaten ton, Rahane has now joined Tendulkar as Indian captains who have scored a ton against Australia in a Boxing Day Test. Sachin did that way back in 1999 when he creamed a sumptuous 116.
Rahane’s unbeaten knock has not put only India in a dominant position but it has also sent out a loud and clear message to all those who are currently struggling in their lives that ‘if you believe in yourself and strive to put the bad days behind you and approach the next day with the same intensity, good things will eventually happen’. It did happen to Rahane today and India couldn’t have asked for a better time for it to happen.