AUS vs IND: Rahane's determined ton gives India the advantage

Ajinkya Rahane scored a responsible century on Day Two as India surged ahead in the first innings. It has a lead of 82 with five wickets in hand.

Soaking it in: Ajinkya Rahane celebrates after getting to his 12th Test ton, on Day Two. - AP

The absence of captain Virat Kohli, known as “King Kohli,” had left India’s fans fearing another heavy defeat in the second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane gave a regal performance of his own on Sunday, scoring his 12th Test century to put India in a powerful position by stumps on the second day.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

Resuming on its overnight tally of 36 for 1 in reply to Australia’s 195, India advanced to 277 for 5 to hold an overall lead of 82 runs, with Rahane's unbeaten 104 the stand-out innings of the match so far.

Reaching his classy century off 195 balls with a cut through backward point for his 11th boundary, Rahane briefly and modestly raised his bat and quietly wiped the sweat from his brow, before continuing on, as India fights to level the series.

Showing quiet determination on Sunday, India’s batsmen patiently chipped away at the host’s lead. India had reached 189 for 5 at tea in overcast conditions on a grass-covered pitch that favoured the seamers.

HIGHLIGHTS - AUS vs IND, 2nd TEST, DAY TWO

In a composed knock that has included 12 fours from 200 deliveries, Rahane steadied his side’s response, sharing half-century partnerships with Hanuma Vihari (21) and Rishabh Pant (29) and a century stand with Ravindra Jadeja (40 not out).

Earlier, India had moved carefully to 90 for 3 at lunch, losing two wickets in Sunday’s first session. Shubman Gill (45) and Cheteshwar Pujara (17 off 70 balls) added 61 before pace bowler Pat Cummins struck in successive overs.

Gill was caught behind by Tim Paine at 61 for 2. Cummins pounced again in his next over, removing Pujara as Paine took a spectacular, diving catch.

Record

That catch gave Paine the wicketkeeping record for fastest to reach 150 Test dismissals, reaching the milestone in his 33rd match, ahead of South Africa’s Quinton de Kock (34 matches).

Vihari gloved an attempted sweep after lunch and was caught at slip off spinner Nathan Lyon’s bowling at 116 for 4.

Tim Paine celebrates after taking a catch to dismiss Shubman Gill. Paine later took another catch to become the fastest wicketkeeper to get to 150 Test dismissals. - GETTY IMAGES

 

Mitchell Starc became the ninth Australian man to claim 250 Test wickets when the left-arm quick removed Pant caught behind for 29 at 173 for 5.

Third Test in Sydney a 50-50 bet - MCG CEO

Starc took the second new ball after 80 overs as Australia attempted a late rally. Three balls later, Rahane on 73 edged to second slip where Steve Smith dropped a tough chance at head height in a pivotal moment. Rahane was dropped again on 104 by a diving Travis Head at point, off Starc’s bowling, in the final over of a day’s play in which India was the clear winner.

India is without its best batsman and captain Kohli for the rest of the series, after he returned home to be with his wife for the birth of their first child. Kohli left with India trailing one-nil in the four-match series after an eight-wicket loss in Adelaide, where it was bowled out for a national-record low of 36 in its second innings.