Melbourne: Virat Kohli is aggressive, assertive, confrontational and the pin-up boy of Indian cricket. Ajinkya Rahane is perceived as timid, shy and apprehensive.
On Day Three at the Melbourne Cricket Ground yesterday, Rahane showcased to the cricketing world his true nature as he outclassed, outscored and overshadowed the stylist Kohli. Kohli acknowledged the brilliance by Rahane stating despite being known as a passive character, he is a warrior instilled with confidence.
Ajinkya Rahane raises his bat after completing his 100. Pic/Getty Images.
“Ajinkya is a great listener and although he comes across as a shy person off the field, once you start feeding positivity in his mind he can showcase what he can do. If you feel the ball is there to hit then hit it. If you think about hitting a boundary you will hit a boundary. That is all I kept telling him.”
Rahane took those words to heart right from the outset as he got off the mark with a savage pull shot. It was the shot that yielded him 34 runs out of his 147 and importantly it was a stroke that really dented the Australians. The bouncer is often Australia’s greatest weapon to slow down the scoring and lure a player bought up on slow low pitches into a false hook or pull stroke. It is also Australia way to intimidate.
Virat Kohli's girlfriend Anushka Sharma is thrilled as her man reaches his century
So instead of falling to the plan, Rahane counter attacked with some pulsating pull shots that ensured Australia needed to revert from their customary plan of line and length outside off stump. With the pitch offering no movement and the Australian bowlers looking for the full length after losing the bouncer war, Rahane sieged the opportunity. Rarely did he let a scoring opportunity slip by. The back foot punch, exquisitely-timed cover drive, the late cut, the upper cut were all exhibited to the crowd of over 42,000.
He had trailed Kohli by 19 runs at one stage but by the time he was dismissed, he had overtaken him by seven runs. It was a dominating innings.
Even as Kohli notched up his ton, Rahane stood back and watched his rock star partner raise his hands and blow a kiss to his celebrity girlfriend, Anushka Sharma in the Southern Stand.
Little did people know standing beside the actress was Radhika Rahane, Ajinkya’s wife. But Rahane will not want to keep that in the limelight as he is a shy man, who likes to show his true personality with a bat in his hand.