Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc has heaped high praise on Indian captain Ajinkya Rahane for his brilliant unbeaten hundred on the second day of the Boxing Day Test but he reckoned that he could have dismissed him as many as five times behind he reached the three-figure had his fielders gobbled the chances that came their way.
Rahane, who came into bat at a time when India was reeling due to the loss of back-to-back dismissals of Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara, played a gem of a knock; one that is an epitome of patient, doggedness, determination.
Rahane went on to score his maiden overseas Test ton in SENA since 2014 and even though he played brilliantly to pave for India to take a first-innings lead, he did offer a few catching chances to Australia, all of which came of the bowling off Mitchell Starc including a regulation catch in the slip-cordon when he was on 73, which Steve Smith could not gobble at second slip.
Apart from that, he edged one between keeper and second slip when he was on 57 before Travis Head joined the list and dropped him on what turned out to be the final ball of the day.
“He has batted really well, could have got him out five times before he got to his hundred, but he has run his luck there and scored a good hundred, well done to him,” Mitchell Starc said in the post-day interview.
— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 27, 2020
‘It is important for us to bat big in the second innings’- Mitchell Starc
India are currently 82 runs ahead with Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja still going strong but Mitchell Starc reckoned that the pitch has started to flatten out and he is hoping that the Australian batsmen put on a substantial total in the third innings.
But before that Australia will hope that Starc and his fellow pacers knock over the last five Indian wickets quickly on the third morning before getting stuck into the Indian bowlers and hopefully improve on their dismal show with the bat in the second essay.
Australia were bowled out for a mere 195 after having chosen to bat first on the first day of the Boxing Day Test with Indian bowlers and especially Ravichandran Ashwin and Jasprit Bumrah exploiting the moisture-laden track to the hilt.
“By the end of today, there are not too many demons in the wicket, it’s typical Melbourne, it flattens out, it has become a flat wicket, it has given us a chance to bat really well in the second innings. It is important for us to bat big in the second innings” said Starc.