India avenged the Adelaide humiliation of 36 all out in style. It bounced back brilliantly to win the second Test in Melbourne by 8 wickets and level the series at 1-1 . Ajinkya Rahane impressed as stand in captain scoring a superb 112 in the first innings and remained unbeaten on 27 as he saw India get home in style chasing 70 in the second innings. Rahane earned kudos from all with his innovative captaincy and making smart bowling changes and his field placements were spot on.
However Ajinkya Rahane refused to take credit for his Man of the Match show in the second Test between India and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Having hit the winning run to seal the win on Tuesday, the batsman immediately pointed at the brilliant show put on by the team.
“Really proud of all the players. Played really well. Want to give credit to the debutants (Mohammed) Siraj and (Shubman) Gill, the character they showed after the Adelaide loss was great to see,” he said in the post-match presentation.
Harping on the need to show character after being hammered in the pink-ball Test at the Adelaide Oval, Rahane said: “Character was important for us, especially after losing Umesh in the second innings. That (five-bowler plan) worked well for us nicely. We were thinking of having an all-rounder and Jadeja has been brilliant for us.”
Chasing 70 for a win, it was only poetic justice that Rahane hit the winning run of Nathan Lyon as the series stands 1-1 with two Tests remaining. The win not only brings India right back in the series, but also a step closer to the final of the World Test Championship.
While no word is enough to describe the heroics of skipper Rahane, one man who deserves special praise is opener Shubman Gill. Brought into the team after first-choice opener Prithvi Shaw failed in the opening game, Gill showed application in both essays and was unbeaten with skipper Rahane (27) when India crossed the line. His unbeaten 35 off 36 balls will stand India in good stead with Rohit set to start the third game.
Mayank Agarwal’s poor show continued as he once again failed to grab the opportunity and was dismissed for just 5 as India chased 70 for a win on the fourth afternoon. Cheteshwar Pujara also failed to rise to the occasion and was dismissed for just 3 by Cummins. But that is a worry the team management will look into ahead of the next game. For now, it is one inspired show by the Indian boys when critics in Australia had called it a 4-0 series win after the loss in Adelaide.