India beat Australia by 8-wickets in second Test, level series 1-1
Melbourne: India thumped Australia by eight wickets in the second Test on the fourth day to level the four-match series 1-1, here on Tuesday.
Chasing a mere 70 to win, India overhauled to target in 15.5 overs with more than four sessions to spare.
India had lost the pink-ball Test in Adelaide.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane (27 not out) and opener Shubhman Gill (35 not out) took the side past the finish line after India lost Mayank Agarwal (5) and Cheteshwar Pujara (3).
India had wrapped up Australia’s second innings for 200 in the extended opening session on Tuesday morning after the hosts began at 133 for six.
India had taken a 131-run lead on the third day with skipper Ajinkya Rahane (112) and Ravindra Jadeja (57) taking the hosts to 326 in reply to Australia’s first innings total of 195.
Number six Cameron Green was top-scorer for the hosts with his 45-run knock while make-shift opener Matthew Wade made 40.
Green and Pat Cummins (22) added 57 runs for the seventh wicket with the pitch offering nothing to the bowlers. The partnership was broken only after the new ball was taken.
For India, debutant pacer Mohammed Siraj (3/37) took three wickets while Jasprit Bumrah (2/54) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/28) and Ravichandran Ashwin (2/71) took two wickets apiece.
Gill and Siraj showed character: Ajinkya Rahane
Melbourne: India skipper Ajinkya Rahane on Tuesday singled out the debutant duo of Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj while commending the tremendous character shown by his side to turn it around in the second Test here for a series-levelling triumph.
India defeated Australia by eight wickets, just 10 days after going down by the same margin in the lung-opener in Adelaide where they also collapsed to their lowest ever-Test score of 36.
Gill scored 45 and 35 not out in the game here while Siraj returned with five wickets, including three in Australia’s second innings.
“I am really proud of all the players. I want to give credit to the debutants Siraj and Gill, the character they showed after the Adelaide loss was great to see,” Rahane said at the post match presentation ceremony.
“Character was important for us, especially after losing Umesh in the second innings,” he added, referring to the mid-match injury suffered by pacer Umesh Yadav.
Rahane said it is never easy for debutants to be consistently disciplined in their game but Gill and Siraj showed how it is done.
“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 said.
Asked what the team discussed before the match, Rahane said,” 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.”
Rahane also acknowledged his own role as a leader, citing the five-bowler plan that yielded result.
Rahane is a shrewd captain, has calming influence: Shastri
Melbourne: India head coach Ravi Shastri on Tuesday described stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane as a “shrewd” leader, whose calm demeanour is in sharp contrast to regular skipper Virat Kohli’s “passionate” approach.
Rahane has earned plaudits for not just his match-winning hundred in the second Test against Australia but for also displaying fine tactical acumen while handling the resources at his disposal.
“He is a very shrewd leader and a good reader of the game. I thought his calm composure out there helped the debutants as well as the bowlers. There was a calming influence out there inspite of losing Umesh,” Shastri said after the eight-wicket triumph in the second Test that helped India draw level in the four-match series.
Shastri was also asked about the difference in captaincy style of Rahane and Kohli, who is currently on paternity leave.
“See, both are good readers of the game, Virat is very passionate, Ajinkya, on the other hand, is very calm and composed, and it’s their characters.
“Virat is more in your face while Ajinkya is quite prepared to sit back in a very calm and composed manner, but deep inside he knows what he wants,” he opined.
The former batsman declared Rahane’s hundred as the turning point of the second Test, calling his knock a display of “unbelievable concentration”.
A dogged 112 by Rahane helped India gain a crucial 131-run lead in the first innings. India then bundled out the hosts for 200 in their second essay and then chased the 70-run target with ease
“The discipline, you know on such a big stage…When he (Rahane) went out to bat, we were 2 down for 60, and then to bat six hours, on probably the toughest day to bat, because it was overcast all day and he batted for six hours, unbelievable concentration,” he recalled.
“I thought that was the turning point. His innings was the turning point,” he added at the post-match virtual press conference.
Rahane’s knock in the first innings came in 223 balls and he hit 12 fours during it. The third Test of the series begins from January 7.