Ajinkya Rahane has hit “one of the all-time great Boxing Day hundreds”, capping off a remarkable Test turnaround and putting Australia on the ropes at the MCG.

Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane rode his luck to hit a spunky unbeaten century as India built an ominous 82-run lead over Australia on day two to take a stranglehold on the second Test in Melbourne on Sunday.

It was a determined and significant knock against a world-class attack by the mild-mannered 32-year-old, who assumed the captaincy from Virat Kohli after he returned home for the birth of his first child.

Batting at four, he faced 200 balls for his 104 to steer India to 277 for five before rain ended play 15 minutes early. Ravindra Jadeja was not out 40.

Australia is losing hold of the second Test after a day’s play against India where very little went right for the hosts.

It is not too much of a time to argue India’s woeful fielding in Adelaide allowed Australia to stay within touching distance.

Although in Melbourne, the home side fielding has been just as poor, exclusively behind the wicket. It has allowed visitors to rule.

Across 91.3 overs, Marnus Labuschagne, Tim Paine, Cameron Green, Travis Head and Steve Smith all shelled chances.

The hosts took just four wickets during a frustrating day in the field as the match began to slip away with India zeroing in on levelling the series after losing the first Test by eight wickets in Adelaide.

Gill went on to make 45 before nicking off to Cummins and when the quick followed that up by taking Cheteshwar Pujara’s edge for 17, Vihari fell for 21 attempting to sweep Nathan Lyon, with Smith taking the catch.

Pant’s dismissal was meant to open the door for the Australians, but Rahane and Jadeja slammed it shut, with their stand worth 104 by stumps as the duo cashed in on some loose bowling with the second new ball.

Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins both took two wickets. Full Scorecard

Day 1:Match Report

Day 2: Stumps – India lead by 82 runs

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