Mangaluru, Jan 8, 2015: Young Mangalorean cricketer Lokesh Rahul hit a maiden ton as India fought back with a gallant batting display to keep themselves afloat in the fourth and final cricket Test against Australia in Sydney today, January 8.
Resuming the day at 71 for 1, India added 271 runs from 90 overs to end the third day on 342 for 5 in reply to Australia’s mammoth 572 for 7 declared, thanks to the twin centuries by Rahul (110) and Kohli (140 not out).
The 22-year-old Rahul, in only his second Test, played a solid innings though he survived two close calls, including a dropped catch by Smith of the bowling of off-spinner Nathan Lyon in the morning session when he was on 46.
Hailing from Suratkal, Rahul pursued his early studies at NIT-K English Medium School and completed his PUC from St Aloysius College. His cricketing skills were honed at an early age of 11 when he started playing cricket at Nehru Maidan under the guidance of KSCA coaches Devadas Nayak P and Samuel Jayaraj Muttu. He had even scored a double century in an under 13 cricket tourney, which explained his immense talent in the game. While studying PUC at St Aloysius, he made the city proud when he was selected to represent the country in the under-19 world Cup held at New Zealand.
The Rahul-Kohli duo shared 141 runs for the third wicket to lead the Indian fightback on an SCG pitch which offered some turn for the spinners. Kohli notched up his tenth Test ton in his 33rd match and also broke a few records during the course of his unbeaten knock.
At stumps, Kohli and Wriddhiman Saha (14 not out) at the crease, the duo having added 50 runs for the sixth wicket.
Rahul could only muster 3 and 1 in the first and second innings respectively in the Boxing Day Test but struck a well-deserved ton at the SCG, while opening the innings.
"It feels good. It was not the debut that I had expected in Melbourne. I came out thinking this is my first game and I am very pleased with the way I batted today," said Rahul in the end of day’s play press conference in Sydney.
"Batting up in the order gave me little more time. And it was a conscious effort to spend some time in the middle and get those early nerves off. The wicket was pretty slow and the Australian bowlers made it harder by giving nothing away. I just kept telling myself to bat through the first session so that I can come out in second session and score more runs," he added.
"I think we still have a chance from here if we bat really well tomorrow, may be two sessions and get runs, then come out and put big effort from the bowlers’ end, then we will see how it goes."