Birthday Special: Ajinkya Rahane’s Top 3 Test knocks

Team India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane is celebrating his 33rd birthday today. The Mumbai batsman is a crucial component of India’s middle-order in the longer format of the game.

Having made his Test debut in March 2013 against Australia in Delhi, Rahane has, so far, represented India in 73 Tests, in which he has scored 4583 runs at an average of 41.28. The right-hander has registered 12 hundreds and 23 half-centuries.

Although he is no longer in the scheme of things in the shorter versions for India, Rahane has remained a key element in the Test format, especially when India have played away from home.

He will have a major role to play in the World Championship Final (WTC) against New Zealand in Southampton as well as the five-match Test series against England in England.

The best of Ajinkya Rahane in Tests

On the occasion of his 33rd birthday, we look back at the three best knocks of Ajinkya Rahane in Test matches.

#3 147 vs Australia – Boxing Day Test (December 2014)

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane came up with an incredible counter-attacking knock against a highly potent Aussie attack during the Boxing Day Test of 2014. Australia put up a massive 530 on the board batting first as Steve Smith hammered 192.

India were under pressure at 147 for 3 when Ajinkya Rahane joined hands with Virat Kohli to launch a sensational counter-attack.

Coming in to bat at No. 5, Rahane took on both pace and spin, blasting 147 in 171 balls. He cracked 21 fours during his stay at the crease.

The Mumbai batsman was in a completely murderous mood as he launched a savage assault on an Aussie bowling attack comprising Mitchell Johnson, Ryan Harris, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon.

He was eventually trapped lbw by Lyon and walked back having put up one of the finest displays of attacking batting in Australia.

Ajinkyar Rahane and Kohli (169) added 262 for the fifth wicket to lift India out of trouble. It was one of the rare instances of India putting Australian bowlers under pressure during the Test series.

As for Rahane’s batting, he had once again proved his worth away from home as the match ended in a draw.

#2 103 vs England – Lord’s Test (July 2014)

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane

103 is not considered a big total in Test cricket. But, Ajinkya Rahane’s 103 against England in the Lord’s Test of 2014 was hugely significant in the context of which it was scored.

India were asked to bat first on a surface that had plenty to offer for the pace bowlers. The ball was moving around and, as has often been the case, India’s batting crumbled. They lost their openers with the score of 48 and were five down before reaching 130.

It was left to Ajinkya Rahane to hold the innings together. He did so in quite splendid fashion.

Displaying excellent technique to counter the moving ball, Rahane frustrated the England attack. He occupied the crease for 234 minutes, during which he faced 154 balls and hit 15 fours and a six.

The standout feature of Ajinkya Rahane’s innings was the assured manner in which he kept James Anderson, Stuart Broad and Ben Stokes at bay.

The technically-sound batsman found good support from Bhuvneshwar Kumar (36). The two took India’s score from 145 for 7 to 235 for 8.

Rahane was eventually dismissed, caught and bowled by Anderson. India made 295 in their first innings to stay in the game. Ishant Sharma’s 7 for 74 in the second innings then bowled India to a famous 95-run triumph.

#1 112 vs Australia – Boxing Day Test (December 2020)

Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane

Ajinkya Rahane’s hundred against Australia at the MCG during the 2020 Boxing Day Test will go down as one of the finest efforts by a leader in Test cricket.

India had everything going wrong for them heading into the Melbourne Test, but Rahane gave a prime example of what it means to lead from the front.

India went into the MCG Test having been bundled out for 36 in Adelaide. Their captain Kohli had headed home on paternity leave. Rahane took over the reins of the team at the worst time possible as India’s confidence seemed at an all-time low.

On the personal front as well, Rahane was under pressure. He had run out his captain in the first Test and his own form with the bat was wretched.

However, the 33-year-old transformed his biggest challenge into his finest moment of glory, with a knock of unadulterated brilliance.

Bowling first, India rolled over the Aussies for 195. They, however, stumbled to 64 for 3 in response. Not for the first time in his career, Rahane absorbed the pressure and led India’s fightback.

Displaying immense patience and resilience, India’s stand-in captain battled it out for 359 minutes and hit 12 fours during his gritty knock.

Even after he was run out following a mix-up with Ravindra Jadeja, he patted the all-rounder and encouraged him to carry on, a gesture which won wide appreciation.

Ajinkya Rahane’s Boxing Day ton was the foundation on which India’s comeback triumph was built. They won the Test by eight wickets and, against all odds, clinched the series 2-1, breaching Australia’s fortress – The Gabba.

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Edited by Arjun Panchadar

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