India managed to turn around the series after winning the second Test match convincingly against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. They were on the backfoot after the debacle in Adelaide and did not have the services of their captain Virat Kohli. On top of that Mohammed Shami was missing due to injury while Umesh picked up a niggle during the second innings. Things were going against India but the team powered through all the adversities.
They defeated Australia by 8 wickets with Ajinkya Rahane shining with the bat and with his leadership skills. The 32-year-old was instrumental in the win as smashed a century in the first innings when India were on the backfoot due to a fall of wickets. It proved to be a pivotal innings as India eventually came on top due to their superiority in batting during the Test.
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India head coach Ravi Shastri was impressed with Rahane’s hundred and the innings as the turning point of the second Test against Australia.
“I think, it was the innings of Ajinkya Rahane.”Shastri said Rahane batted on probably the toughest day when the conditions were overcast.
“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,” the former batsman recalled.
“I thought that was the turning point. His innings was the turning point,” he added at the post-match virtual press conference.
Rahane scored 112 runs in the first innings off 223 balls and managed to stitch important partnerships with Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja as India took a 131-run lead after the first innings.
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However, the stand-in captain refused to take credit for his Man of the Match show in the second Test and chose to highlight the performance of debutants Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill.
“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 pointed.