Former India opener, Aakash Chopra heaps rich praise for Ajinkya Rahane’s brilliant batting effort on the second day of the ongoing Boxing Day Test against Australia. After dismissing Australia for 195 on the first day of the match, India was in a fragile position on Day 2 when Cheteshwar Pujara got out at the score of 64/3.
However, Ajinkya Rahane, the stand-in captain for Virat Kohli, stitched vital partnerships with Hanuma Vihari, then Rishabh Pant, and later with Ravindra Jadeja towards the end of the day. The right-hander notched his 12th Test match century as India the visitors lead by 82 runs at stumps.
Rahane’s defence tired the bowlers: Aakash Chopra
Aakash Chopra feels that Ajinkya Rahane was at his absolute best. Rahane after a few early plays and misses, Rahane dug in, held one end tight, and played different roles while batting with different partners.
Chopra observed that Rahane has overcome his short ball struggles, against which he looked uncomfortable in New Zealand earlier in the year- Rahane averaged a disappointing 22 in New Zealand. The former batsman pointed out that not only Rahane himself was out of form with the bat, but he also has to pull out the team mentally after the loss in Adelaide.
Speaking to ESPNCricinfo, Aakash Chopra said, “Ajinkya Rahane is batting beautifully, absolutely top class. This is as good as you will see Rahane bat. He has batted with some amount of authority and control.”
“He has battled those short pitch problems he had against New Zealand and he was troubled at that time. He was struggling against the barrage of short-pitch stuff. Sometimes you are mentally broken by that and it takes time to bounce back- he had a middling IPL as well. So he hasn’t come into this tour with runs under his belt,” he added.
The 43-year-old reckons Rahane left a lot of balls outside off-stump- which is a testament to his patience and temperament. Chopra believes that Rahane’s defence and tactics against the Aussie quicks – against whom he frequently played on the front foot – tired them out.
“But he has batted beautifully and left a lot of balls outside off stump- which is an indication of how comfortable he was. Sometimes you go fishing because you are not sure. Rahane’s defense tired the bowlers,” Aakash Chopra opined.