In the past decade, the incredible success of T-20 cricket has meant that stars of the shortest format and their performances are remembered far more than Test specialists. Rahane started out as an all-format batsman but gradually became a Test specialist and more specifically India’s overseas specialist. India’s stand-in skipper has been his country’s go-to man in adverse conditions and his contributions in the longest format deserves more recognition. Here we take a look at five special knocks from Rahane,
96 vs South Africa at Durban, 2013
When India came out to bat in the third innings of the Durban Test, the question in everyone’s mind was whether their batting can show some resolve after the bowlers got hammered by Kallis and AB de Villiers. But it was a familiar script as the Indian batsmen failed to convert their starts and India were down to 104/5, staring at an innings defeat.
Rahane was the last man standing and played a well-controlled yet aggressive knock that stood out as a lesson to other batsmen. He played some gorgeous straight drives throughout the innings but the standout was a deft back-foot punch off Steyn. He fell four short of a century but this innings helped him earn the respect of players and fans alike.
100* vs South Africa at Delhi, 2015
Rahane had scored a splendid century in the first innings and India took a 213 run lead after South Africa’s collapse. The Delhi track had started turning square and India were 57/4 in the third innings when Rahane joined Kohli at the crease.
The South African spinners Dane Piedt and Imran Tahir were bowling really well and Rahane understandably took a lot of time to settle. But on the morning session of day 4, he unleashed a trademark counter-attack and got to his century before lunch. India ended up winning the series 3-0 and Rahane once again showed his class in tough conditions
147 vs Australia at Melbourne, 2014
India were trailing 2-0 in the series and Australia had posted a mammoth first innings score. India had a decent start but Aussie bowlers were firmly in control of the proceedings. Rahane understood that a change in approach is needed to give India some momentum.
The result was an array of controlled cuts and pulls as Rahane punished the Aussie bowlers whenever they bowled short. Both Rahane and Kohli brought up their centuries and the game ended in a draw.
103 vs England at Lord’s, 2014
On a green top at Lord’s, Indian batsmen were put in to bat and understandably found it hard to negotiate the swing on offer. Anderson and Broad, two bowlers who thrive in such conditions were wreaking havoc when rahane came out to bat.
Rahane once again bailed India out of trouble by combining with Bhuvaneshwar Kumar and stitching India’s only decent partnership. He turned rogue once Bhuvi was dismissed and picked apart England’s best bowler Jimmy Anderson. India got to 295 and went on to win at Lord’s for the first time in 28 years.
Rahane 117 vs Australia at Melbourne, 2020
There is something about Boxing Day tests and Rahane as he once again scored a fine century, six years after destroying the likes of Johnson and Harris. This time the conditions were more difficult and Australia’s pace battery were coming fresh off dismissing India for 36 at Adelaide.
Compared to other innings in this list, Rahane showed a remarkable amount of patience and rarely played his favourite front foot drives. This knock gave India a massive lead and renewed the confidence among fans after that embarrassing collapse in Adelaide.