India lost the first Test match against Australia at the Adelaide Oval. A heavy defeat that also saw India bundled out for just 36 runs in their second innings. They knew they had to come back strong without their regular captain, Virat Kohli, and they did. Series leveled, 1-1.
Melbourne Cricket Ground. The Boxing Day Test. Australia vs India. Just sit out and watch players going out after each other. After a halting defeat from the hosts, the visitors knew they had to win this match to have a chance of winning the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The most interesting thing was the fact that they had to do that all without their regular captain, Virat Kohli, who is enjoying his paternity leaves back in India. Their stand-in captain, the man of the match of the game, led the team to an eight-wicket victory over the mighty Australians.
India edged Australia to register their 4th win at the MCG
It was Australia who got the chance to decide after winning the toss and they elected to bat first. That means it was Indian bowlers who had to do their job first. And they did. They restricted the home side to just 195 in the first innings. Marnus Labuchagne top-scoring the innings with 48. Ashwin once again had the better of Steve Smith and dismissed him for the second consecutive time. Jasprit Bumrah leading the pack with a four-for.
India managed to take the lead of 131 runs courtesy of a brilliant captain’s knock from the stand-in captain, Ajinkya Rahane. Ravindra Jadeja also played his part by scoring a fighting half-century a 121-run partnership with Rahane. Shubman Gill, who played instead of Prithvi Shaw, also scored 45 runs including eight fours.
A healthy 131 run lead was enough for India to peg Australia back from the start. The India bowlers restricting the hosts to 6-99, leaving nothing but to stay on the back foot. However, they managed to sneak 200 runs and got the lead of 69 runs. Their top batsmen once again failed with Steve Smith getting out for just 8 runs. India needed just 70 runs to win the Test match.
And they did with the loss of only two wickets. There was a slight hope when Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins got Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara in back to back overs, but Gill and Rahane made sure that they bring their team home without any further loss. India win the second Test match by eight wickets.
The captain-Rahane’s knock
You cannot fill out the void that has been created by Virat Kohli, can you? No, you just cannot. But the person taking his spot and willing to play his role must lead from the front. That what Ajinkya Rahane did. Leading his team to a convincing eight-wicket victory.
Coming at 2-61 in the first innings and playing a crucial role to give his team a dominant position in the match. Rahane went on to score 112 runs with twelve boundaries. A defiant- knock from the captain showing his peers how things are done. It was his 12 Test century.
Debutants play their part
After the first Test match, the debate started whether to go with Prithvi Shaw or to go with Shubman Gill. India decided to go with Gill and repaid their faith. Scoring a good 45 runs in the first innings and a not out 35 in the second innings. Mohammed Siraj also getting his debut cap at the MCG venue for the Boxing Day Test. He returned with the match figures of 5/77. Debutants played their part in setting up a thrilling series-leveling victory.
Ajinkya Rahane was the deserved man of the match for his brilliant 112 runs.
Man of the Match: Ajinkya Rahane
Result: India won by 8 wickets, series leveled 1-1