A good bowling attack keeps you in-game, add to it a good day of batting the chances of winning in SENA countries shoots up. After the lows of Adelaide, everyone was looking at the response of the Indian team. Australia though had won the first match but they were shaky in batting and there lied India’s best chance.
Australia won the toss and perhaps the only thing on the first day. Rahane with shrewd field placements and bowlers responded to skittle out Australia for 195. India did not allow Australia to score on offside and everyone contributed. Bumrah and Ashwin hardly have anything and Siraj, Umesh and Jadeja also did not allow any momentum to Aussie batsman by picking wickets at regular intervals.
Indian batsman played well, with luck favouring them which is required on a pitch offering assistance to pacers. Debutant Shubman Gill was impressive in his chancy but entertaining 45. Australia might have sensed their chances with India at 173/5 but Rahane joined Jadeja and stitched together a match-changing partnership of 122 which helped India to gain an overall lead of 131 which was more than handy against an under-pressure Australian batting unit.
Rahane completed his 12th test century and one which he will be proud of. Fielding was below par by home team as 7-8 catches were dropped. Australia started poorly by losing Burns quickly. India lost Yadav due to hamstring injury but their attack looked relentless. Australia did bat patiently but run-rate went at snail’s pace and when runs are not easy to come by a wicket falls.
Their innings could not get any sort of momentum and Indian bowlers were relentless. Green along with tail battled hard to wipe out the deficit and tried best to get close to 100+ score but that didn’t happen and Australia set India a target of 70 runs. Siraj was outstanding and took his match tally to 5 wickets, creditable performance for a debutant. India did lose two wickets but Gill and Rahane counter-attacked to knock off the required runs.
🔥 A match-defining knock from Ajinkya Rahane
🔥 A strong bowling performance
India put up an all-round show in Melbourne to level the series 1-1 with an eight-wicket win 👏 #AUSvIND report 👇
— ICC (@ICC) December 29, 2020
Fittingly it was Rahane who scored the winning run after having not out a wrong foot throughout three and a half days. His bowlers backed him by not giving anything and fielders took all catches. Even though some were dropped but that count to nothing as India had put themselves so ahead of the game.
Before the first test Australian batting had their issues and still have which will give India some advantage in coming tests as well. With Smith not in good form ,which will happen at some point in a career, it’s responsibility of batsman getting starts to score enough to give their bowlers some breathing space. Paine would like to see his number four getting back to runs but with Ashwin getting a mental edge over Smith, it’s likes of Wade, Labushagne Head, Paine to score big runs.
They should be happy that their tail gives them 50-60 runs but their opening and middle order should show their accountability as well. Both teams have eight days to plan for the next test.Both teams will be bolstered by big names as Warner and Rohit are likely to play at SCG. Burns looks likely to lose his place to Warner and for India, Agarwal/ Vihari will make way for Rohit.
Both teams still have issues which need to be sorted out. Issues with Australia look visible as they have lost and one with India are hidden as they have won, exactly reverse to what was after first test. The first session in Sydney will clear all the dust to some extent.
The response to humiliation what many were waiting and Indian team has given as complete and professional performance as one can see. The grit and resolve required to overcome a debacle require huge applause. The way Rahane lead with bat and rallied his troops was outstanding. There would have been very few who believed in India winning at MCG and Rahane & Co. ensured the belief was not a myth.