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Kotla Test: Chandu Borde heaps praise on Ajinkya Rahane for a second century

Ajinkya Rahane becomes the fifth Indian to score a ton in each innings of a Test. Chandu Borde, who missed this feat at the same ground by four runs in 1959, raises a toast to the Mumbai batsman and recalls his miss, as well as a telegram from Vijay Hazare, the first Indian to achieve it

Yet another grand personal feat was witnessed at the Kotla in Delhi yesterday when Mumbai's Ajinkya Rahane scored his second century of the Test against South Africa to become the fifth Indian after Vijay Hazare, Sunil Gavaskar (thrice), Rahul Dravid (twice) and Virat Kohli to score twin Test centuries.

Chandu Borde, scored 109 and 96 vs West Indies in the 1959 Delhi Test
Chandu Borde, scored 109 and 96 vs West Indies in the 1959 Delhi Test

It was here where batting legend Sunil Gavaskar equalled Sir Don Bradman's record number of Test centuries (29) in 1983 while taking on Clive Lloyd's West Indian pace battery. In 1999, Anil Kumble achieved the near-unthinkable 10-wickets-in-an-innings feat against Pakistan. Six years later, Sachin Tendulkar went past Gavaskar's record tally of 34 Test hundreds – against Sri Lanka in the Capital.

Gavaskar, who like in 1999 and 2005, was commentating at the Kotla yesterday, was the first Indian to reach three figures in both innings of a Test in India — against Alvin Kallicharran's West Indies team at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 1978-79.

Former India batsman and captain Chandu Borde would have been the first had he not been 'denied' by eccentric West Indies paceman Roy Gilchrist at the Kotla in 1959. But every history-loving cricket follower will know that Vijay Hazare was the very first Indian to do the incredible at Adelaide in 1948. Hazare was Borde's guru. "Firstly, let me offer my congratulations to Rahane. I have a lot of time for him. He has tightened his technique and deserves his success," 81-year-old Borde told mid-day from Pune yesterday.

Rahane's tight technique
"I noticed Rahane standing a little out of his crease and minimising the gap between bat and pad. By doing this, he has put himself into a better position to play the incoming delivery. This boy reminds me of Sachin Tendulkar, who, if he spotted anything wrong with his technique, used to go to the nets and sort it out immediately. I hear Rahane works very hard on his game. He seems a very balanced cricketer," Borde added.

India's Ajinkya Rahane raises his bat after completing his century during the penultimate day of the fourth Test against South Africa at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi yesterday. Pic/AFP
India's Ajinkya Rahane raises his bat after completing his century during the penultimate day of the fourth Test against South Africa at the Feroz Shah Kotla in New Delhi yesterday. Pic/AFP

The former India captain recalled how he missed out on a similar feat during the 1958-59 series against the West Indies at Delhi. "I will never ever forget the sight of Vijay Manjrekar walking in with his left hand in a plaster to help me get my hundred. Gilly (Gilchrist) was bowling what was possibly the last over of the day. He tried everything to deny me my hundred by bowling well outside the off stump and out of my reach.

He was a crazy man and ran in with a longer run-up for that over. When I knew I was running out of time, I swung one and while turning, hit the stumps although the ball went raced to the boundary. I missed my second hundred by just four runs. Earlier in the day, when I was batting on 50, I received a telegram from my guru Hazare which said: 'Congratulations Chandu! Get your hundred.' "

In 1967-68, Borde led India in place of the injured Tiger Pataudi at the Adelaide Oval where Hazare scored his two famous hundreds against Bradman's feared Australian pair of Keith Miller and Ray Lindwall in 1948.

"It felt great to be at the venue of Hazare's memorable tons. I remember sitting with Sir Don during a luncheon during the Test and the first person he asked me about was Hazare," said Borde. Rahane's twin tons are set to eventuate in victory for India at the Kotla today. Only Dravid in the India list of two-in-one-Test century-makers has experienced that.

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