Ajinkya Rahane leads India's fightback against England

When all the other Indian batsmen were struggling to even find feet, Ajinkya – the unconquerable as it means in Sanskrit, led the Indian fight back against the England pace attack.

England won the toss in the second Test against India and asked them to bat. Until the end of the first day and 90 overs, India had scored a fighting 290 runs for the loss of nine wickets. Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma were at the crease with 14 and 12 runs respectively and both had stroked a couple of boundaries each.

Rahane scored one of his best centuries in his little international career so far. Determination was written all over his face ever since he stepped out to bat. It remained the same throughout his 154-ball knock. He scored 103 runs with the help of 15 fours and a solitary six.

It took Rahane 101 balls to reach his half-century.

And from there it was swift batting as he scored a run a ball to complete his century by hitting a sweet boundary to Anderson to jump from 99 to 103. He got good company in the form of Bhuvaneshwar Kumar.

Kumar also played a handy knock of 36 runs – the second best in the Indian innings so far. With the help of seven fours, Kumar gave the much needed support to Rahane. It was a determined batting performance from Kumar and that also helped Rahane improve his game.

Rahane batted in such difficult circumstances where it was virtually impossible to play Anderson’s bowling for the opening Indian batsmen. Five of the first seven overs bowled by Anderson were maiden. Three of the top four Indian batsmen got starts. However, they were not able to convert them into sizable innings.

Murali Vijay scored 24 runs, while Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli contributed 28 and 25 runs respectively. The middle order of M S Dhoni, Ravindra Jadeja and Stuart Binny were failures. They scored only 13 runs between them, with Dhoni contributing with just one run.

This underlines the importance of those 103 runs by Rahane out of the total 290 scored by other ten batsmen. But it must be mentioned that the earlier batsmen negotiated the new ball, which was unplayable at times. Until Rahane arrived at the crease, the ball had been considerably used up and the sting and fire and come down.

It was finally James Anderson, who got the better of Rahane. Just after reaching his century, Rahane got a soft dismissal when he hit the ball back to the bowler. The ball stuck in Anderson’s left hand much to the disappointment of the batsman.

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