Rahul Dravid was Australia's nemesis for a number of years. Another Rahul - 19 years junior to the legend - emerged as a hero on Thursday and may become Australia's main foe in the time to come. Such was the solid nature of Lokesh Rahul's maiden century at Sydney, that the Aussies couldn't help but admire the batting audacity. (Scorecard | Day 3 Blog | Day 3 Report)
On Day 3, Australia would have hoped to steamroll their way through India's batting lineup. With a massive score of 571 in the first innings, Australia had the bragging rights and were faced with young Rahul and an out-of-form Rohit Sharma. (Rahul Reveals How is Dad Made him Watch Sachin, Dravid Videos)
While Sharma (53) fell soon after his fifty, the 22-year-old Rahul continued his gritty resistance. It was only his second Test but it did not stop the Karanataka player from bringing his domestic form to the international arena.
"For nearly six hours, Rahul could not be dislodged, playing a classic opener's knock," said a Sydney Morning Herald report. "Whereas the modern opener, such as David Warner, plays the game on his terms, Rahul was challenging the bowlers to get him out, not wanting to gift his wicket again."
Indeed, Rahul's 262-ball 110 was a well-constructed innings which had 13 fours and a solitary six. He tackled pace and spin with equal ability - showing an immaculate temperament for the rigours of Test cricket. That he is one of many trying to establish themselves as the new stars of Indian cricket is also noted by the Australian media.
"Rahul is part of a highly rated band of young batsmen aiming to fill the void left by India's golden generation of Sachin Tendulkar, Dravid, V.V.S. Laxman, Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag," said Sydney Morning Herald. "He booked his ticket to Australia through weight of runs in India's first-class competition last season, amassing 1033 at nearly 69." (Lokesh Rahul Becomes Twitter Sensation After Maiden Test Ton)
A separate report on news.com.au also hailed the 141-run third wicket partnership between captain Virat Kohli and Rahul. 'Master, apprentice keep Aussies at bay,' read the main headline. 'Virat Kohli and Lokesh Rahul Bat India into Test,' was another headline on Australia's ABC News website.
It was not just the media Down Under but even injured Aussie captain Michael Clarke praised Rahul's determination.
"What a talent, this has been an outstanding Test match innings," Clarke said on Channel Nine. "He has played beautifully and his footwork has been great. He didn't perform as he would have liked in his first Test match, but what an amazing talent." (Steve Smith in 'Spidercam' Catch Controversy)
While it is still early days for the talented Rahul, a maiden century against Australia would inspire him on his cricketing journey. As for the Australians, they would hope that there is no 'Rahul encore' against them in the time to come. (Fielding Disappointing for 2nd Test in a Row, Says Darren Lehmann)