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Captain’s knock inspires India teammates

India opener Shubman Gill was full of praise for Ajinkya Rahane’s composure under pressure after the stand-in captain’s stylish century put India in a strong position in the second Test.

Rahane finished unbeaten on 104 at stumps on day two at the MCG after peeling off a dozen boundaries from 200 deliveries.

“This knock was all about timing and patience,” Test debutant Gill said.

“Importantly, sometimes against a high-quality bowling attack you go into your shell and then you’re not able to score runs.

“But the way Rahane played, it was such a magnificent knock (to watch) from outside.

“Those tough periods, he saw off those tough periods, and then with the loose balls he was making sure he put all of them away.”

Rahane’s 104-run stand with Ravindra Jadeja (40 not out) has India well-placed at 5-277 with a first-innings lead of 82 as they attempt to level the series.

But the skipper’s 12th Test century wasn’t without its nervous moments as Mitchell Starc and the hosts were left to rue a string of missed opportunities.

Rahane was dropped twice – first by Steve Smith on 73 and then by Travis Head moments before stumps – and nicked another ball through a vacant first slip.

Each of those chances were off Starc’s bowling.

“We should have got him out three, four, maybe five times before he got to 100 but he’s run his luck there and scored a good hundred,” Starc said.

Rahane’s brilliant innings came a day after he was widely praised for his captaincy as India bowled out Australia for 195.

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