The absence of captain Virat Kohli, known as “King Kohli,” had left India’s fans fearing another heavy defeat in the second Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

But stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane gave a regal performance of his own on Sunday, scoring his 12th Test century to put India in a powerful position by stumps on the second day.

Scorecard and ball-by-ball commentary

Resuming on its overnight tally of 36 for 1 in reply to Australia’s 195, India advanced to 277 for 5 to hold an overall lead of 82 runs, with Rahane’s unbeaten 104 the stand-out innings of the match so far.

Reaching his classy century off 195 balls with a cut through backward point for his 11th boundary, Rahane briefly and modestly raised his bat and quietly wiped the sweat from his brow, before continuing on, as India fights to level the series.

Showing quiet determination on Sunday,…

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