India vs Australia: “It takes something special to pick up the pieces” – Ricky Ponting lauds Ajinkya Rahane


India vs Australia: “It takes something special to pick up the pieces” – Ricky Ponting lauds Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane

India‘s stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane led from the front with a composed century against Australia on Day 2 of the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Walking in when his side was on 61/2 and very soon found itself in 64/3, the 32-year-old began patiently and wore the Australian bowlers down before steadily scoring runs. His partnerships with Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant were decent while his unbeaten stand with Ravindra Jadeja was the pick of the lot.

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At the end of the day, India were 82 runs ahead at a score of 277/5 with Rahane not out on 104 and Jadeja unbeaten on 40. Even in the absence of captain Virat Kohli who has returned to India on paternity leave, India proved in Rahane’s leadership that they are still capable of producing good performances on difficult batting conditions.

‘Rahane has done a great job’ – Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting was all praise for Ajinkya Rahane after the end of Day 2. Speaking to cricket.com.au, he said, “I think he’s done a great job to pick up the pieces from Adelaide with this team, led really well in the field yesterday and you can see he’s playing like a captain now as well. He wants to play that captain’s knock; he wants to get a hundred in Virat’s absence and do the best thing he can to try and drag his country and his team back into this series.”

“Virat will be captain of India as long as he wants to, but if he thinks standing down is going to make him an even better player, then that’s a scary thing for world cricket,” Ponting added. “I’m not doubting Kohli’s captaincy skills or credentials at all, I’m just saying it’s going to take something special to pick up the pieces and Rahane’s been able to do that so far. I don’t think there’ll be pressure from anywhere else for Kohli to do that but let’s wait and see,” he further said.

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Speaking about the tactics employed by and to Rahane, Ponting said, “He’s almost played a (Cheteshwar) Pujara-like innings. No thrills, he’s hit very few boundaries but he’s just continually backing his defence and trying to wear the Australian bowlers down. I think the Australians haven’t made him cover drive enough. I think they’ve been a little bit short and they’ve plugged that cover region. That nick that we saw that went between Paine and Smith, I think that could have been covered with another slip in place and leave the cover area open.”

Australia will be desperate to dismiss Rahane and take the other four wickets quickly tomorrow to ensure India don’t run away with a huge lead.

Also Read: India vs Australia: ‘He looked composed, in control and showed what leadership is all about’ – Tom Moody hails Ajinkya Rahane’s captain’s knock