Ajinkya Rahane shows great intent, chalks up century

It was the first time since 2007 that two Mumbai batsmen scored a ton in the same innings of a Test.

Photo: BCCI

Ajinkya Rahane notched up his 11th century on Sunday after rescuing India in the third and final Test against South Africa at Ranchi after the home side was left wobbling due to early strikes.

Electing to bat first, India were pushed on the back foot in the opening hour on Saturday as they were left at 39/3 but opener Rohit Sharma kept his end steady and joined hands with Rahane to keep the hosts in control.

"Whenever the team has been in a difficult position, (Rahane) has come to the rescue," Sharma said. "He has done it plenty of times. It shows his mental strength in adversity and hunger.

"Ajinkya's Test graph is getting better and that's good for the team," he added. "Because if your middle order is strong, then no matter the situation, you are confident that one guy will put his hand up and take the team forward.

"Our partnership was very crucial," he continued. "We have played together quite a lot so our understanding was better; what runs to steal, when not to run, so this communication went on between us. I'm quite happy that he scored a century. He has been in great form since the West Indies tour and it augurs well for the team."

The duo forged a 267-run partnership, the highest stand for the fourth wicket against the Proteas surpassing the 178 between Virat Kohli and Rahane in the preceding Test played in Pune.

Rahane, a North Mumbai Panthers batsman from Season 1 of T20 Mumbai, made sure that the flow of runs was brisk, taking just 70 balls to reach his fifty and ended the opening day unbeaten on 83, while Sharma added another ton to his name.

"Ajinkya showed great intent," Rathour said. "Whenever he bats with this intent, he looks like a really good player."

When he resumed on Sunday, he took 170 deliveries to bring up his 100 and eventually fell for 115 (192b, 17x4s, 1x6).

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