Indian head coach Ravi Shastri has heaped high praise on captain Ajinkya Rahane after he led from the front- with both bat as well as a leader- during the visitor’s brilliant eight-wicket win on the fourth day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Tuesday.
Resuming the innings at 6/133, the Australians could only add 67 runs to their overnight tally and were bowled out for 200, giving India a modest target of 70 to win.
India lost two early wickets but skipper Rahane and rookie opener’s counter-attacking knocks of 27 and 35 respectively ensured that the Men in Blue overhauled the target without further blows.
Rahane was adjudged the ‘Player of the Match’ for not only playing a match-winning knock of 112 but also for the manner in which he marshaled his troops besides being pro-active on the field with regards to field placements as well as bowling changes. Shastri explained the difference in the leadership style of both Rahane and regular skipper Virat Kohli, adding that while both are completely different personalities, the thing that they share in common is the fact that both are good readers of the game.
“Ajinkya Rahane is a shrewd leader, has a good understanding of the game. He was a calming influence for the debutants and the bowlers,” Ravi Shastri said in the post-match conference.
“Both Kohli and Rahane are good readers of the game. Kohli is passionate and in your face. Ajinkya is prepared to sit back in a calm and composed manner. Deep inside, he knows what he wants,” he added.
‘Ajinkya Rahane’s innings was the turning point’- Ravi Shastri
When asked about the turning point of the game, Ravi Shastri was quick to point out Ajinkya Rahane’s brilliant 112 in the first innings.
It indeed was a great inning from Rahane, given the fact he was up against a high-quality attack and also because had come to the crease when India had lost two crucial wickets in the form of Cheteshwar Pujara and Shubman Gill.
Rahane’s innings were a perfect epitome of skills, resilience, patience, and determination. He, not only weathered the storm but also ensured that India posted an eventual match-winning lead courtesy of handy partnerships with Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant, and Ravindra Jadeja.
“Ajinkya Rahane’s innings was the turning point. The discipline on such a big stage. Captain of the team, bat at No. 4, on probably the toughest day to bat as it was overcast. He batted for 6 hours… unbelievable concentration,” Shastri said.