Bouncing back in style from the humiliating defeat in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval, India thrashed Australia by eight wickets in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to draw level in the four-match series. The win also means Ajinkya Rahane has maintained his hundred percent record in Tests as captain.
Chasing a modest 70 to win the game, India were off to a poor start. Opener Mayank Agarwal failed to get going once again as Mitchell Starc sent him back for just 5. Pat Cummins then accounted for Cheteshwar Pujara for 3 to reduce India to 19 for 2. But before Australia could make further inroads in the game, Ajinkya Rahane and Shubman Gill steadied the ship.
Wickets in back-to-back overs ?
Cheteshwar Pujara edges one off Pat Cummins to depart for three!
— ICC (@ICC) December 29, 2020
The duo played some fine attacking shots to ease the pressure off themselves and went on to share an unbeaten stand of runs to take their team home. Rahane, who scored a century in the first innings of the game, remained unbeaten on while debutant Gill remained unbeaten on
Earlier in the day, Australia were all out for 200 after starting the proceedings on 133 for 6. Pat Cummins and Cameron Green started the proceedings with the bat and frustrated India once again. It was only after the new ball was made available that the visitors managed to end the stubborn partnership between the two.
Jasprit Bumrah made the difference again by sending back Cummins for 22 to end the 57-run stand. Green’s knock came to an end when he played a loose shot off Mohammed Siraj before the pacer accounted for Nathan Lyon too. Ravichandran Ashwin brought an end to Australia’s innings by castling Josh Hazlewood.
Here is what Ajinkya Rahane said:
Speaking at the end of the game, Ajinkya Rahane, who was also adjudged the Man of the Match, expressed his delight over the way his teammates performed. He also singled out debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj for special praise. The India stand-in skipper lauded Gill for the way he played his shots before praising Siraj for showing good discipline with the ball.
“Really proud of all the players. Played really well. Want to give credit to the debutants Siraj and Gill, the character they showed after the Adelaide loss was great to see. Character was important for us, especially after losing Umesh in the second innings. That (five-bowler plan) worked well for us nicely,” said Ajinkya Rahane.
We were thinking of having an all-rounder and Jadeja has been brilliant for us. Shubman, we all know his First-class career and in this game, he has shown the intent to play shots at this level. Has shown composure. Siraj has shown that he can bowl with discipline. It’s really difficult for debutants to bowl with discipline but that’s where I think the First-class experience comes in handy,” he added.
At the same time, Ajinkya Rahane also made it clear that Team India are in no mood to get carried away after the win. The skipper pointed out that there was still a lot to learn for the team while highlighting how Australia’s lower-order did well with the bat towards the end of the second innings.
“The talk was all about showing the attitude and intent on the field. As I said, character. Adelaide was about one hour that took the game away from us. Lots to learn for even now. Australia applied themselves with their last five wickets,” he said.