Lokesh Rahul overcame a horror debut in Melbourne, to score a Test hundred in only his second Test. His 97-run stand with Rohit Sharma (53) and 141-run partnership with Virat Kohli (140*) as India reached 342/5 vs Australia at stumps on Day 3 of the SCG Test. (Scorecard | Day 3 Blog)
Promoted to open the innings with Murali Vijay, Rahul looked solid and assured, taking the Aussie attack apart with some crisp shots.Â (Lokesh Rahul thanks Fletcher, Shastri for turnaround | Lokesh Rahul becomes Twitter sensation)
The 22-year-old from Karnataka had looked nervous and seemed to panic against Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Johnson in the Boxing Day Test, rounding off a forgettable first international match. At the SCG, he dropped an easy catch in the slip cordon and appeared restless. (Patience and Kohli's company key to Rahul's success)
However, he came into his own in the familiar opening position and displayed a wide array of shots to earn high praise from legends on air.
Former India captain Sunil Gavaskar said he thought Rahul was shaping up very well. Another former India captain, Rahul Dravid felt his luck had slowly started to turn when Steve Smith dropped a straight forward chance with Rahul on 46. Not once during the innings on Day 3 did Rahul seem like a nervous 22-year-old playing only his second Test in difficult Australian conditions.
Despite Rohit's early exit on Day 3, Rahul dug in and in the company of skipper Virat Kohli, brought up his maiden half-century.
Following a slow start to the day, Kohli upped the ante by playing some glorious shots through covers while Rahul remained rock-solid at the other end.
Strong off his backfoot, Rahul took the attack to Australia when Smith brought himself on to bowl and offered a couple of short balls first up.
Kohli's constant chatter helped Rahul grow in confidence. The youngster moved into the 90s with a big six off off-spinner Nathan Lyon over deep midwicket. An animated Kohli was seen sharing a light moment with the youngster after his big heave. Rahul soon eased into a well-earned hundred at the Sydney Cricket Ground, with a cracking shot off Mitchell Starc.
In the post-tea session, Rahul lost a bit of concentration and went for a pull shot off Starc and top-edged it. The bowler completed a simple catch and Rahul's splendid knock came to an end on 110.