LONDON: In his comeback game, Ajinkya Rahane displayed incredible talent and bravery in the face of a hostile Australian pace assault to lead India to 260 for six at lunch on day three of the World Test Championship Final here on Friday. Rahane stood strong amidst the rubble.
Despite Rahane's tenacity (89 runs off 122), India trailed in the game. Shardul Thakur (36 batting off 83), who suffered two painful knocks to his forearm and was dropped twice, provided him with some much-needed support.
India, which started the day at 151 for 5, needs 10 runs to avoid a follow-on after Australia scored 469. It was admirable that India was able to score 109 runs in the 22 overs they bowled during the Friday session.
One could sense a wicket off every delivery in the opening hour because to the manner Pat Cummins and Scott Boland managed to get the ball to kick off length. On the second ball of the day, Boland ripped through K S Bharat's defences because the Indian wicketkeeper couldn't handle a delivery that slashed back in sharply from length.
From the other end, Cummins appeared to be just as dangerous and struck Thakur's forearm twice with balls that had extra bounce, necessitating medical attention. Rahane, like Thakur, also enjoyed good fortune when he dropped David Warner at first slip while he was on 72.
Rahane reached fifty with a magnificent six off Cummins over fine leg after a few sporadic boundaries. Rahane was able to pull it for a maximum after the Australian captain angled one into his body. His greatest stroke of the morning was a cover drive off Cameron Green, which followed a thick edge that sailed past the slip cordon and demonstrated that one had to take a chance on this track.
The session's closing moments were jam-packed with activity. Nathon Lyon was defeated by Rahane via a back foot punch and a well-placed drive through the cover for back-to-back fours.
Scroe Board: India 1st Innings: Rohit Sharma lbw b Cummins 15 Shubman Gill b Boland 13 Cheteshwar Pujara b Green 14 Virat Kohli c Smith b Starc 14 Ajinkya Rahane not out 89 Ravindra Jadeja c Smith b Lyon 48 Srikar Bharat b Boland 5 Shardul Thakur not out 36. Extras: (B-9 LB-9 NB-8) 26. Total: (For 6 wickets in 60 overs) 260
Bowling: Mitchell Starc 13-0-69-1, Pat Cummins 16-2-65-1, Scott Boland 16-4-47-2, Cameron Green 11-1-42-1, Nathan Lyon 4-0-19-1. Fall of wickets: 1/30 2/30 3/50 4/71 5/142 6/152