Former Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath heaped praise on India's stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who brought up his 12th Test hundred on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The 50-year-old believes Rahane has thrived in his role as a captain, and it has helped him focus on his batting.
Ajinkya Rahane had missed out on playing an impactful innings in his team's horrific defeat at the Adelaide Oval. However, he was determined to make a difference with the bat and led by example at the MCG. After displaying his excellent captaincy skills in the field, the 32-year-old backed it up with a stellar 104* and put Team India in a dominant position at the end of Day 2.
In a talk show on Sony Six after the end of the day's play, McGrath explained how captaincy brought out the best of Ajinkya Rahane as a batsman.
“Rahane has looked good. He is enjoying being captain, I think. Rahane, the way he has batted today, he has just looked solid. He is focussed even more than what he was in Adelaide. I guess being captain, it just helps you do that," McGrath said.
Ajit Agarkar also praised Ajinkya Rahane for his terrific knock under pressure
At 64/3, Team India were in a precarious position. A couple of more wickets could have triggered another batting collapse. However, Ajinkya Rahane made sure that was not the case, as he built an important 52-run partnership with Hanuma Vihari and then a 57-run stand with Rishabh Pant to ensure his team was within touching distance of Australia's first innings total.
Former Indian fast bowler Ajit Agarkar also was satisfied with Ajinkya Rahane's performance and credited his resolve to dig deep and play a marathon innings. He believes Rahane played a type of innings that generally Cheteshwar Pujara plays, wearing down the Australian fast bowlers by batting for long periods of time.
“Very determined. Again, the bowling has been really good. They perhaps had a little bit of luck which they didn’t have at all in Adelaide. Rahane, in those two partnerships, with Vihari and Pant has put India in a really good position. But still a lot of work to be done,” Ajit Agarkar said.
“The bowling has been good as well; you have to respect that too. The bowling has been relentless, and you have got to work hard. Maybe being captain, that added responsibility, sometimes people just thrive under it and he seems to be one of them. He has been very determined, almost a Pujara role. But at the moment, it is working for him,” he further added.
The visitors have ended Day 2 on the score of 277-5 and now lead by 82 runs, thanks to an unbeaten century-stand between Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja. If the duo stick around for a bit longer, Team India could be in for a huge first innings lead.Published 27 Dec 2020, 15:30 IST