MELBOURNE: India skipper Ajinkya Rahane played a captain’s knock to score his 12th Test century and help India take control of the second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. India ended the second day’s play, comfortably placed at 277/5, and 82 runs ahead of the hosts Aussies who were bowled out for 195 in the first innings on Saturday.
Ajinkya Rahane celebrates his century during the second Test match between India and Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday. (ANI Photo)
Rahane was unbeaten on 104 while all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja was with him at the crease on 40, the two having added an unbeaten 104 for the sixth wicket.
The India stand-in skipper shared half-century partnerships with Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant to rescue India after they were reduced to 64 for three in the first session.
Resuming day two from 36/1, Gill and Pujara weathered the storm during the first hour of the play. However, their 61-run partnership was ended by Cummins as Gill (45) fell short of his maiden Test half-century. Cummins made sure Australia didn’t lose any momentum as he sent back Pujara (17) in his next over. Skipper Tim Paine took a superb one-handed catch to leave India at 64/3.
Rahane and Vihari rebuilt the Indian innings after the double strike by Cummins. The duo ensured that the hosts did not lose any more wickets before the end of the first session. Both batters then started the second session after weathering the storm before lunch. The duo had steadied India’s ship before Nathan Lyon sent Vihari (21) back when the batsman tried to sweep.
Rishabh Pant then joined Rahane at the crease and the duo dominated the Australian bowlers in the second session. Pant scored runs at a strike rate of 72.50 while Rahane welcomed Cummins with a boundary in his fresh spell. However, Mitchell Starc ended Pant’s (29) innings in the 60th over of the innings.
At the tea break, India’s score read 189/5 with Ravindra Jadeja and Rahane at the crease. After the break, both Jadeja and Rahane looked reasonably comfortable at the crease and the duo ensured that the visitors also take the lead in the first innings.
The final session of the day saw Rahane bringing up his 12th century and he along with Jadeja ensured that the side does not lose any wickets in the final session of day two. In the final 2.5 hours of day two, India managed to score 88 runs, and the visitors extended their lead to 82 over hosts Australia. Rahane’s catch was dropped by Steve Smith and Travis Head off the bowling of Starc and Australia had to pay for the two misses dearly.
On day one, India had bundled out Australia for 195 as Jasprit Bumrah scalped four wickets while Ravichandran Ashwin took three wickets.
Brief Scores: Australia 195 vs India 277/5 (Ajinkya Rahane 104*, Ravindra Jadeja 40*; Mitchell Starc 2-60).
Resuming day two from 36/1, Gill and Pujara weathered the storm during the first hour of the play. However, their 61-run partnership was ended by Cummins as Gill (45) fell short of his maiden Test half-century.