• Ajinkya Rahane has 3 wins in as many Tests as Indian captain
  • Rahane has scored 12 centuries in Test cricket so far
  • He scored a century in India's win in the 2nd Test last month

India's stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane is aiming to match a record held by former Indian captain MS Dhoni in the New Year's Test against Australia in Sydney, which starts Thursday.

In the absence of regular captain Virat Kohli, Rahane is leading India in the ongoing Border Gavaskar Trophy. Under the captaincy of Kohli, India lost the opening Test in Adelaide, which was the touring team's first overseas day-night Test. After the game, Kohli returned to India on paternity leave.

Rahane led from the front in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) as India completed a superb comeback with a win to level the series 1-1. It was Rahane's third win as India's Test captain in as many matches.

With the third Test scheduled to be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), a victory would make Rahane only the second Indian Test captain to win his first four Tests as skipper. Dhoni claimed the milestone after taking over India's charge from Anil Kumble in 2008.

Rahane was awarded the Player of the Match in the recently concluded Boxing Day Test for scoring a century, which was his 12th in the longest format and second Down Under. Rahane is bidding to become only the fifth Indian batsman to score 1,000 or more runs on Australian soil after Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Kohli.

Rahane currently has 797 runs from 10 matches at an average of 46.88. Tendulkar tops the list of most runs in Test cricket in Australia among Indian batsmen with 1,809 runs in 20 games at an average of 53.20, while Kohli is in the second place with 1,352 runs in 13 Tests at 54.08.

The 32-year-old Mumbai cricketer is also looking to become the 10th Indian batsman to score at least 3,000 runs in Test cricket away from home. From 40 Tests overseas, Rahane has scored 2,891 runs at an impressive average of 45.88. Tendulkar is once again at the top of the list, having scored 8,705 runs in 106 away Tests. Next on the list are Dravid (7,667 runs in 93 Tests), Sunil Gavaskar (5,055 runs in 60 Tests), Laxman (5,014 runs in 74 Tests), Sourav Ganguly (4,032 runs in 63 Tests), Virender Sehwag (3,847 runs in 51 Tests) and Kohli (3,760 runs in 48 Tests).

India captain Ajinkya Rahane scored a gutsy century on day two against Australia at Melbourne
India captain Ajinkya Rahane scored a gutsy century on day two against Australia at Melbourne AFP / WILLIAM WEST

The third Test in SCG may not be an easy fixture for Team India as their previous Test victory at the venue came in 1978 when a Bishan Bedi-led side thrashed Australia by an innings and 2 runs. In 2019, Kohli-led India had come close to registering a Test win for India at SCG, but the rain played a spoilsport and forced a draw.