Indore: Ajinkya Rahane became the second Indian centurion in the first innings, besides his skipper Virat Kohli, as the hosts continued to grind the New Zealand bowling to tighten the screws on them in the third and final cricket Test here on Sunday.
Resuming the second day at 267 for 3, India reached 358 for 3 at lunch as they added 91 runs in 27 overs without losing a wicket. At the lunch break, Kohli was unbeaten on 149 after adding 46 runs this morning to his overnight score of 103, while Rahane was unconquered on 124.
The duo’s fourth wicket partnership, already worth 258 runs, was threatening to overtake the best against New Zealand of 281 between Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly in October 1999 in Ahmedabad. While Kohli has struck 15 fours so far off 272 balls, Rahane’s tally was 11 fours and 3 sixes in 254 balls.
It was only the second double century stand for the wicket against the Kiwis and ninth plus-200 partnership overall against all comers for the fourth wicket. By lunch, the duo had frustrated the Kiwis for more than two sessions after having joined forces at the fall of Cheteshwar Pujara when the team score was 100 in the second session yesterday.
None of the Kiwi bowlers made any sort of impression on the duo on a pitch that had eased out since yesterday and where the ball came slowly on to the bat. Kohli and Rahane were keen to step up the run-rate and succeeded against the visiting team’s bowling attack with the ten-over old second new ball.
Rahane, who started the day on 79, faced a short-ball barrage from Matt Henry before reaching his eighth ton in his 29th Test with a single to long leg off Trent Boult.
He gave back Henry by going on the attack mode and hooked the fast medium bowler for a four before the next ball, also dug in short, struck him on the side grill of the helmet. Undaunted, he batted on while Kohli too took the attack to the opposition by square cutting and straight-driving Henry for fours in successive balls.
Rahane proceeded to complete his own century in an unruffled manner as New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson brought on Boult to replace Henry. He reached the landmark in 210 balls and with the help of one six and 11 fours. He thus joined Kohli in the list of centurions in the series, the Indian captain having done it yesterday.
The first hour’s play produced 46 runs in 14 overs. Later Rahane stepped out to smack off spinner Jeetan Patel over the straight field for his second six of the innings and then repeated the show off left-arm Mitchell Santner. The second hour produced 45 runs in 13 overs.