Five instances when Ajinkya Rahane rose to occasion for India
Ajinkya Rahane has been the linchpin of Indian middle order in Test cricket, ever since he announced his arrival. The 31-year-old comes up with a perfect blend of composure and perseverance. Barring his patchy form of late, he has single-handedly rescued Team India on quite a few occasions. We take a look at some instances when Rahane stood out for India.
After bursting on to the scene in 2013, Rahane had already shown his batting prowess overseas. However, he cemented his spot in the Indian team with a ground-breaking century against New Zealand at Wellington. Rahane took apart Kiwis' five-pronged pace attack amid seaming conditions, with ease. Although the match ended in a draw, Rahane's 158-ball 118 secured India the lead in the first innings.
India clinched an incredible victory at Lord's after a long wait of 28 years, in 2014. Ishant Sharma's bouncer barrage made headlines in the following days. Nonetheless, Rahane was deemed the unsung hero as he set up the foundation of India's spell-binding victory against England. His 103-run knock in the first innings gave India the edge, especially when the entire batting line-up stumbled.
Rahane is one of the few players who fancies batting overseas. Interestingly, he did not score a single century at home until 2015. His maiden century in home conditions came against Proteas at the Arun Jaitley Stadium. He added yet another century in the second innings. Rahane racked up 127 and 100* respectively on a tricky Delhi surface with India winning by 337 runs.
Batting first in Colombo, India piled up 393 in the first innings with opener KL Rahul scoring 108. The Virat Kohli-led side gained a precious 87-run lead, having bundled out Sri Lanka for 306. Rahane top-scored (126 off 243 balls), thereby helping India extend the all-important lead. The visitors, who gave Sri Lanka a 413-run target, ended up winning by 278 runs.
During the 2018 South African tour, India had already lost two Tests at Cape Town and Centurion respectively. The visitors finally gained redemption on the dangerous Johannesburg track in a low-scoring series finale. India were bundled out for 187, but restricted the hosts too on 194. A priceless knock by Rahane (48 off 68 deliveries) in the following innings fetched India the lead.