Legendary Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath said he felt that Ajinkya Rahane is relishing his role as captain and looked more determined in Melbourne on Day 2 of the Boxing Day Test than he was in India’s 8-wicket loss in Adelaide Test.
Ajinkya Rahane got to his 23rd Test fifty and became the only batsman to get to the landmark so far in this ongoing 2nd Test at the MCG. Rahane got to his fifty in 111 balls as he stitched crucial fifty-plus stands with Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant on Day 2 after Australia were bundled out for 195 in their first innings.
It has been a good two days for Rahane, who is leading India in the absence of Virat Kohli. The stand-in captain won the applause of the cricket fraternity for the way he marshalled his troops on Saturday. Rahane was tactically brilliant on the field as he made crucial bowling changes and set some testing fields for the Australian batsmen.
On Sunday, Rahane showcased his class as he looked solid against a high-quality Indian attack. He opened up a bit in the flluent partnership with Rishabh Pant, who made 29 off just 40 balls.
“Rahane has looked good, chance free. 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,” Glenn McGrath told Sony Six.
Meanwhile, former India fast bowler Ajit Agarkar pointed out that Rahane played a Cheteshwar Pujara-like innings, holding one end when Pat Cummins was troubling the India batsmen in the first two sessions. India lost the wickets of opener Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara in quick succession but Rahane rallied around Vihari and Pant to take India closer to Australia’s total.
“Very determined. Again the bowling has been really good. They perhaps had a little bit of luck which they didnt 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,” Agarkar said at the Tea break.
“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.”
Rahane was not out on 53 at the Tea break as Ravindra Jadeja joined the stand-in skipper out in the middle.