Ajinkya Rahane’s fighting century highlighted India’s dominance on Day 2 of the second Test against Australia at the MCG on Sunday. With Virat Kohli back home, Rahane, the stand-in captain had a herculean task of leading a team down on confidence following the debacle of Adelaide, and he did so by leading from the front. On Sunday, Rahane struck his 12th Test century to take India to 277/5 at stumps and acquire a lead of 82 runs.
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Former Australia all-rounder Tom Moody looked back at Rahane’s defiant knock, saying it was virtually impossible to fathom the kind of pressure he was in heading into the match. Moody praised Rahane for not only playing a captain’s innings and leading the team from the front, but also highlighting the true meaning of leadership.
“For me, when he came in, the score was 61, I think. Soon after his arrival, another wicket fell. So India with 63/3 I think it was, with all the pressure that was build up for this Test match… in the absence of Virat Kohli, one of the best players in the world and also the captain of this side, after his disastrous performance in Adelaide, you can’t imagine the pressure that he was under,” Moody said on ESPNCricinfo.
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“But to me, did it look like it? It certainly didn’t. He looked composed, he looked in control, and he showed what leadership is about. Leadership is about actions, and his action was very much one of head down ‘I’m grinding this out. I’m going to show you discipline, some maturity some class along the way and allow my innings to unfold and blossom for you all to enjoy.”
Moody was highly impressed, in particular, with Rahane’s subdued celebrations once he got to the three-figure mark. On 96, Rahane crashed a Pat Cummins delivery for four, but unlike the man he is standing in for as captain of the Indian team, there were no wild celebrations – no screaming, no fist pump, no jumping in the air. Off came the helmet followed by the gentle raise of the bat, signalling that Rahane was aware that the job was not done.
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“And to me the way he acknowledged his hundred was the most special part of that innings – so understated. A similar player across the Tasman Kane Williamson acknowledged the hundred against Pakistan, a very similar modest fashion. And I just love watching players like this… understated. Everyone knows they’ve climbed the Everest but they’re content nodding their heads and raising their bat,” the former all-rounder pointed out.