Former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting feels Ajinkya Rahane has done a great job for India “to pick up the pieces” from the Adelaide debacle with a captain’s knock on the second day of the Boxing Day Test right here on Sunday.
Rahane, who was praised for his captaincy acumen in Australia’s 195 all out on the primary day on Saturday, remained not out on 104 to put India within the drivers’s seat.
“I think he’s done a great job to pick up the pieces from Adelaide with this team, lead really well in the field yesterday and you can see he’s playing like a captain now as well,” Ponting informed cricket.com.au.
“He wants to play that captain’s knock; he wants to get a hundred in Virat’s (Kohli) absence and do the best thing he can to try and drag his country and his team back into this series.”
Rahane’s century gave India a lead of 82 runs on the finish of second day’s play on Sunday with the guests on 277 for five. He was dropped by Steve Smith at second slip when on 73 after which by Travis Head from the ultimate ball of the day — all off Mitchell Starc’s bowling.
Those reprieves apart, the right-hander was considered together with his stroke play on a wicket that has assisted spin and seam bowling.
And whereas he struck 12 boundaries, it’s Rahane’s defence that stood out to Ponting.
“He’s almost played a (Cheteshwar) Pujara-like innings. No thrills, he’s hit very few boundaries but he’s just continually backing his defence and trying to wear the Australian bowlers down,” Ponting mentioned.
“I feel the Australians haven’t made him cowl drive sufficient. I feel they’ve been a little bit quick and so they’ve plugged that cowl area.
“That nick that we saw that went between Paine and Smith, I think that could have been covered with another slip in place and leave the cover area open.”
While Rahane has impressed because the stand-in skipper, Ponting expects Kohli to return as captain after his paternity break.
“Virat will be captain of India as long as he wants to, but if he thinks standing down is going to make him an even better player (to focus on his batting), then that’s a scary thing for world cricket (for bowlers),” Ponting mentioned.
“I’m not doubting Kohli’s captaincy abilities or credentials in any respect, I’m simply saying it’s going to take one thing particular to pick up the pieces and Rahane’s been ready to do this to this point.
“I don’t think there’ll be pressure from anywhere else for Kohli to do that but let’s wait and see.”