Saturday, February 27

‘One of the most important hundreds in Indian cricket history’: Gavaskar

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Ajinkya Rahane’s gritty century against Australia in Melbourne may go down as one of his most cherished Test tons, but former India captain Sunil Gavaskar is of the belief that the hundred is of epic proportions and one that will be etched in the history of Indian cricket. Rahane’s 112 in India’s first innings is his second Test ton in Australia, following his epic 147 at the same venue six years ago.

Rahane’s knock in the first innings created the base for India’s series-leveling 8-wicket win in Melbourne. India rode on Rahane’s ton to get an important 131-run lead after they had bowled Australia out for 195.

Rahane himself admitted that although he considers this a very important knock of his career, the century he struck at Lord’s in 2014 remains his favourite. Gavaskar, meanwhile, reckons Rahane’s 112 deserves a place in the pantheon of great Test centuries hit by Indian cricketers for the incredible statement it’s made.

“I believe that this hundred is going to be one of the most important hundreds in the history of Indian cricket,” Gavaskar told the Seven Network before play resumed on day three.

“Important because it’s showing character, sending a message to the opposition that after being dismissed for 36 in the previous game, to come back in this manner, this Indian team is not going to just lie down and be walked all over. That is the message and that’s why I think this is going to be one of the most important hundreds in the history of Indian cricket.”

Like Gavaskar, many believe this is probably Rahane’s most important and memorable century, and it’s hard to argue with that notion. Just the circumstances leading into the Test makes it special. With India coming off their lowest Test total in Adelaide and Rahane responsible for running his captain out, sturdier men would have wilted. But not only did Rahane play his cards right in terms of bowling changes and field placements, India’s stand-in skipper has stepped out in Virat Kohli’s absence to bring the team on the brink of one of their most incredible wins.