Former vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane not only saved India the blushes at The Oval on Friday but he also completed 5,000 runs in Test cricket during the ongoing WTC Final against Australia in London. The Mumbaikar scored his 26th fifty in the format but missed out on a well-deserved hundred by just 11 runs as he got out for 89 in India's first innings.
Rahane made a small change to his batting by playing off the back-foot and it worked wonders for the veteran cricketer as he rescued India from an embarassing collapse in the World Test Championship.
Rahane joined forces with Shardul Thakur with the team struggling at 152 for 6. The duo mixed caution with aggression to help India recover to 261 for 7 on Day 3, with Rahane scoring 89 and Shardul hitting 51.
Rahane makes stunning comeback
Rahane, making a comeback in the side after 1.5 years, became the 13th Indian to enter the 5K club in Test cricket and the top-scorer for the side in the first innings.
He played the ball late and played shots off the back-foot, which gave him a bit more time to react to the challenges that the Aussie pacers threw at him.
Sanjay Manjrekar explains the change in Rahane's batting
"The Rahane of the old and the Rahane that we saw in this Test match, just playing the ball very late. He's pushed at one... And a lot of back-foot play as well.
"That's the big change that I see form Rahane that we saw for a number of years before he was dropped," former India cricketer-turned-commentator Sanjay Manjrekar told ESPNCricinfo.
Australia managed to stop Rahane's charge thanks to a stunning catch from all-rounder Cameron Green at gully off the bowling of Pat Cummins.
Australia 196 ahead at Tea on Day 3
Australia batters had to negotiate a nervous few minutes before the tea break on the third day. They reached 23 for 1 in 11 overs with a lead of 196 runs after they bowled out India for 296 in the second session.
Mohammed Siraj removed David Warner for 1 in the second over to draw first blood for India.
Aussie skipper Pat Cummins bagged three wickets while Cameron Green, Starc and Scott Boland took two each and off-spinner Nathan Lyon picked one to round off a clinical bowling performance.