India win the second Test comprehensively: The visitors overcame injuries, squad withdrawals and poor form to win big
- India defeated Australia by 8 wickets in the Boxing Day Test
- Ajinkya Rahane was named 'Player of the Match'
- The series is tied 1-1 after Australia won the first Test in Adelaide
- The third Test will be played in Sydney from January 7
Rahane leads India to a strong win in MCG (Getty Images)
India made a mockery of their poor form and personnel change to make a stunning comeback in the Test series with an eight-wicket win over Australia in Melbourne.
Without regular captain Virat Kohli, pace spearhead Mohammed Shami, and Umesh Yadav limping off the attack, India were not backed to win this match. The fact that the visitors had to overcome a lot of adversities on and off the field makes this win one of the best bounce-back wins in Test cricket.
It was a win driven by a number of impressive performances. Debutant Shubman Gill had scores of 45 & 35* to show signs of his class. Although Mayank Agarwal had another Test to forget (0 & 5), India will be looking at Gill closely to rise to the occasion.
Jasprit Bumrah (4/56 & 2/54) had a great game leading the attack after the loss of Mohammed Shami. Ravichandran Ashwin (3/35 & 2/71) had another satisfying Test having nullified the threat of Steve Smith. Young debutant Mohammed Siraj took five wickets in the match and bowled some crucial spells in both the innings. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja (57, 1/15 & 2/28) gave India the right balance to play five bowlers and that helped in the final analysis.
The match, however, belonged to Ajinkya Rahane who scored a superlative first innings century. The stand-in Indian captain absorbed the pressure, rode his luck and made it count. Not just his runs, Rahane was sensational with his bowling changes, field placements, and the unspoken aggression.
Australia were left with more questions than answers as their brittle batting unit once again faltered. Steve Smith’s poor series continued (0 & 8), while Joe Burns (0 & 4) may have played his last Test for Australia. The Kangaroos will also pray that the likes of Marnus Labuschagne and Travis Head will find some runs as the series moves to Sydney.
Scores of 195 and 200 underline the effect of Indian bowling, but also highlight the Australian batting deficiencies. It could be an interesting build-up to the third Test in Sydney for the hosts, as David Warner is expected to be fit for that match.
The series is tied 1-1 and will move to Sydney for the third Test starting from January 7.