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Rahane's gritty ton puts India in commanding position
Day Two Report

Rahane's gritty ton puts India in commanding position

Ajinkya Rahane's gutsy century helped India build a healthy 82-run lead and counting against Australia on the second day of the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.

The defiant innings against a world-class bowling attack bolstered Rahane's credentials as one of India's leading Test batsmen in the context of Virat Kohli's absence due to paternity leave.

Coming into bat at No. 4, Rahane masterfully guided India to 277 for five before rain cut the proceedings 15 minutes short of the scheduled close time.

He finished the day at 104 not out from 200 deliveries while Ravindra Jadeja struck an unbeaten 40 to keep him company.

Australia's quality bowling line-up could prise out only four wickets during a frustrating day in the field as India marked a strong comeback from their first Test capitulation.

Rahane was deservingly showered with accolades for his splendid effort but India's remaining batsmen also stood tall to the task by crafting three 50-plus partnerships.

Debutant Shubman Gill chipped in with an impressive 45 to make up for a good upgrade on the out-of-form Prithvi Shaw, whom he replaced.

India resumed on 36/1 in reply to Australia's paltry first-innings total of 195 and weathered the initial burst by blunting the ball in tough conditions.

Pat Cummins dismissed Gill and the doughty Cheteshwar Pujara but Rahane made amends by stitching brilliant stands with Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant and finally Jadeja.

He reached his 12th Test ton, and his second at the MCG, with an outstanding boundary off Cummins. Despite Rahane's classy stay at the crease, he enjoyed favourable fortune throughout the day.

Rahane edged one between wicketkeeper Tim Paine and the wide first slip when he was batting on 57 and later got a huge reprieve on 73 as Steve Smith dropped him on second slip.

One of the last few moments of the day saw Travis Head gobble up a chance offered by Rahane but he spilled it immediately after his arms hit the ground.

Jadeja batted supremely in his wonderful cameo to pile on Australia's misery in the Test. One of the silver linings for the hosts was Mitchell Starc's 250th Test wicket by claiming the scalp of Pant in the afternoon.