Returning to play Ranji Trophy, senior India batter Ajinkya Rahane hit a crucial hundred for Mumbai on Day 1 of their Group D opening match against Saurashtra in Ahmedabad on Thursday.
Ajinkya Rahane hits hundred for Mumbai on return to Ranji Trophy (AFP Photo)
- Ajinkya Rahane hit his 36th first-class hundred
- Rahane led Mumbai’s fightback against Saurashtra on opening day of Ranji season
- Rahane is likely to be picked for India’s Test series vs Sri Lanka
Ajinkya Rahane hit a hundred on return to Ranji Trophy cricket as he led Mumbai’s fightback against Saurashtra on Day 1 of their Group D opener at the Sardar Vallabhai Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad on Thursday, February 17. Rahane took his time and got to his 36th first-class hundred in 212 balls for Mumbai.
Rahane got to 99 with a big six against left-arm spanner Dharmandrasinh Jadeja. When he got to the 3-figure score with a single, his batting partner Sarfaraz Khan also punched his air in delight. It was tough conditions on a hot day but Rahane used all his experience to counter the Saurashtra bowling threat.
Rahane hit 14 boundaries and 2 sixes as he was involved in a 150-plus stand with Sarfaraz, who also got to a hundred in 191 balls, hitting 2 sixes and 11 boundaries.
It was an important knock for Mumbai as the former champions were reeling at 44/3 after losing captain Prithvi Shaw (1), Akash Gomel (8) and Sachin Yadav (19) inside the first 13 overs. However, Rahane and Sarfaraz mixed caution with delightful strokeplay to put the pressure back on Saurashtra, who were being led by Jaydev Unadkat.
Ajinkya Rahane was under considerable pressure as his spot in the Indian Test team was in danger after a string of poor scores. The senior batter had scored just 136 runs in 6 innings in India’s 2-1 defeat in a Test series in South Africa earlier this year.
Rahane’s Test numbers have dipped considerably. He has managed just 68 runs in 2022 while his 479 runs in 2021 came at an average of 20.82. Rahane was sacked as the vice-captain of the Indian Test team ahead of the tour of South Africa.
RAHANE FINDS FORM AHEAD OF SRI LANKA TESTS
The hundred on Thursday against Saurashtra will certainly brighten the chances of Rahane getting picked in the Indian Test squad for their 2-match series against Sri Lanka in March. India will host the islanders in the first Test in Lucknow from March 4 while the 2nd Test, a day-night game, will be played in Bengaluru from March 12.
Notably, Cheteshwar Pujara is part of the Saurashtra playing XI and the senior batter also needs runs in this Ranji Trophy campaign to save his floundering Test career.
Speaking to PTI, BCCI president Sourav Ganguly had stressed the importance of big runs from both Rahane and Pujara in the Ranji Trophy, which got underway on Thursday after a 2-year absence.
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