WTC Final: Look back at Ajinkya Rahane's top 3 Test knocks vs. Australia
Indian cricket's veteran Ajinkya Rahane found himself left out of the Indian Test side after a disappointing tour of South Africa in 2021-22. It took some time for him but he is back in the Test squad for the all-important WTC Final against Australia.
Injuries Shreyas Iyer and Rishabh Pant opened the way for him, as the Indian side opted to rely on his experience and proven quality.
After a slump in form, he is seemingly back to his best, coming into this game on the back of a successful domestic season and also an impressive IPL campaign. The Mumbai batter played his part in helping Chennai Super Kings win their fifth title.
Over the years, Ajinkya Rahane has been one of India's most reliable batters in overseas conditions. He also tends to bring out his best when his back is against the wall and the right-hander will be hoping to mark his return to the side with another one of his special performances.
On that note, let's take a look at three of his best knocks against Australia ahead of the World Test Championship Final.
#1 112 at MCG, 2020-21
This knock is going to go down as one of the most special in Rahane's career for more than one reason. After India lost the first Test on this tour, suffering the humiliation of being bowled out for 36, no one gave them a chance to turn things around. More so as Virat Kohli was going to miss the rest of the tour due to the birth of his first child.
Rahane took charge of the team as captain and led the fightback from the front in the second Test. His 112 in that game led India out of a tricky situation and helped them win the Boxing Day Test.
That set the tone for India's historic and memorable comeback in the series. They eventually ended up winning the series 2-1, breaking fortress Gabba to script one of the most memorable Test tour wins in history. The understated and often under-appreciated Rahane was right in the middle of it.
#2 147 at MCG, 2014-15
Melbourne Cricket Ground has been a happy hunting venue for the Mumbai batsman. Both of his Test centuries against Australia have come at this venue. His first century at this ground was during the 2014-15 series when India didn't really return with happy memories.
Australia posted a mammoth total of 530 runs on the board, courtesy of a mammoth knock of 192 from their star batter Steve Smith. In reply, India responded strongly with Rahane leading the way alongside Virat Kohli, as the two mustered a massive 262-run stand.
Rahane came into the innings with an intent to counter-attack and blazed his way to 147 off 171 balls. The partnership helped India save the Test, which eventually ended in a stalemate.
#3 70 at Adelaide, 2018-19
Chesteshwar Pujara scored a dogged century to help India post 250 in the first innings and earn a 15-run lead, following Australia being bundled out for 235. With the game hanging in the balance, India were in a spot of bother at 147-3 when Rahane walked out to bat.
In his typically controlled aggressive approach, the crisis man for India struck a crucial 70 off 147 balls. He propelled India to a healthy lead before eventually being dismissed with the team at 303-8, playing his part in getting the team a safe total.
The bowlers then did the job for India and bundled the hosts out for a total of 291, eventually winning the game by 31 runs. Rahane's contribution in that game might not have been the biggest and usually slips under the radar, but it proved to be the difference between the two sides in the second innings.