Mentally strong India bounce back with a win at MCG

India's Ajinkya Rahane scored a brilliant hundred in the first innings. (AP)
India's Ajinkya Rahane scored a brilliant hundred in the first innings. (AP)

Dubai - Can India play 10 more days of consistent cricket in the remaining two Test matches to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy?



By Anis Sajan

Published: Tue 29 Dec 2020, 8:26 PM

After the first Test mauling at the hands of the Aussie bowlers in Adelaide, where India were bowled out for their lowest score of just 36, no one had given India a chance going into the Boxing Day Test match in Melbourne.

The Indian team was mentally down and out after that loss and to add to it, their run machine, captain Virat Kohli, had left for India on paternity leave and their ace bowler, Mohammed Shami, was out of the series because of an arm injury he suffered during the first Test.

Very few teams can lift themselves after such a demoralising loss, and in Melbourne when the toss went against India, it looked like India were going to have another long day in the field.

But the way Jasprit Bumrah and R Ashwin bowled — well supported by Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj — India managed to restrict Australia to a below par total of just 195 in the first innings.

When Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara fell cheaply scoring only 5 and 3 runs respectively, stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane came up with one of the finest 100s with the help of Jadeja, which turned India’s fortunes and gave the team a crucial lead of 131 runs.

Indian bowlers kept the same pressure on the Aussie batsmen in the second innings despite losing Umesh Yadav to a calf injury and bowled Australia out for just 200 in the second innings, which left the team with a modest target of 70.

Rahane’s men eventually reached home with eight wickets in hand.

Only a few teams have come from behind and beaten Australia in their own den, and this Indian team showed a lot of character and heart to outplay Australia and win the second Test.

Team India’s coach Ravi Shastri said it was one of the finest comeback wins in the history of Test cricket.

“To beat Australia, you need to play not only two days of good cricket but five days of consistent cricket and that is what this team under Rahane, who led from the front, managed to do,” the Indian coach said.

Can India play 10 more days of consistent cricket in the remaining two Test matches to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy? Your guess is as good as mine.


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