During the early part of the ‘Steyn Show’, the producers at SuperSport were up to their old tricks. One segment was titled ‘Rahane Rattled’. Hit on the crash helmet and struck on the hands, Ajinkya Rahane was in some trouble. But the Mumbaikar battled all that to emerge with his reputation enhanced. His compact and undefeated 51 went a long way in ensuring India finished with a respectable –– but, by no means, safe –– total of 334.
Coming into bat at the fall of Rohit Sharma, Rahane was a tad lucky to have not faced Dale Steyn early. For some strange reason, Graeme Smith didn’t give his best bowler an extended spell.
Instead, he chose to operate with the likes of Robin Peterson. Rahane was only happy. By the time Steyn was back, Rahane had faced 27 deliveries. Four balls after being ‘woken up’ with a ball that said hello to the side of his helmet, Rahane pulled him to the deep square-leg boundary. Minutes later, he hit the same bowler down the ground for four more. He wasn’t bogged down.
Discipline and courage are Rahane’s biggest strengths. He had displayed these attributes during that 47-run knock in the first innings at the Wanderers. On Friday, he found time and space for two 50-plus stands even as wickets kept falling every now and then. He did not shy away from the challenge, got well behind the line of the ball and brought up his first Test half-century in company of tail-enders.
An exponent of the famous ‘Bombay School of Batsmanship’, Rahane will leave these shores with his head held high. He has shown immense discipline, something his buddy Sharma hasn’t, and one that will stand him in good stead.