The Indian team had a host of positive takeaways to choose from their memorable win against Australia in Melbourne.
India looked down and out of the series when the pace trident of Australia ran through them in Adelaide ten days ago. Virat Kohli’s men made history for wrong reasons as they recorded India’s lowest totals in an innings of a test match when Australia reduced them to 36 runs. Odds were firmly against the visitors, but they rose from the ashes just like a phoenix in Melbourne to level the series.
Ajinkya Rahane’s astute captaincy in the absence of Virat Kohli inspired India to a comfortable eight wickets victory in the Boxing day test. Courtesy of this win, team India just needs one more win in the next two games to retain the Border Gavaskar trophy. There were many takeaways from a memorable win down under, but here are the best of the lot.
Change in personnel, but no change in attitude of bowling unit
India has faced many injury problems during this tour, most particularly in the bowling unit. Ishant Sharma didn’t travel with the squad to Australia, while Mohammed Shami injured his hand during the first test match in Adelaide. During the second test match, Umesh Yadav suffered an injury in the second innings.
Despite so many injuries, the attitude of the bowling unit remains the same. Even without the senior bowlers, this young fast bowling unit led by Jasprit Bumrah kept on creating problems for the Australian batsmen. They were very well supported by Ravichandran Ashwin as the senior spinner is enjoying his best Australian tour.
Indian bowlers have gone on the offensive front by bowling attacking lines and suffocating Australian batsmen. It is a testament to the quality of this bowling unit that they have not allowed Australia to go past 200 runs in four innings and the scoring rate has also been reduced to two runs per over.
Shubman Gill shines brightly on debut
The poor showing in the first test for Prithvi Shaw presented the opportunity for Shubman Gill in the team. Gill grabbed this opportunity with both hands by scoring 80 runs in the Boxing Day Test. It is not a very big statistical contribution, but in the context of the game, those were big 80 runs. He took on the bowlers when India lost Mayank Agarwal early in the first innings. Similar intent was visible when India was chasing 70 runs for victory in the second innings.
Most importantly, Gill looked at ease in the middle against a fierce bowling unit. His pull shot on the first day showed that he is not scared to take on the best bowlers. Gill has a long way to go, but there were so many positives from his approach towards batting against Aussies in the boxing day test.
A good score is just around the corner for Cheteshwar Pujara
Australia has managed to keep Cheteshwar Pujara quiet in the first two test matches. He was their nemesis during the last tour, scoring 500 runs in four test matches. Pujara has the ability to occupy the pitch for long period and wear down bowlers. He has managed to do that to an extent in the first two games, but he lost his wicket to some unplayable deliveries in three out of four innings.
With other batsmen chipping in with contribution, Pujara’s dismissal was compensated. However, he did look comfortable during his stay on the pitch in the first innings. Considering there are no technical issues with Indian number three, it feels like a matter of time for Pujara to get a big score. He will be batting in Sydney next week, a ground where he managed to score 193 in one innings during the last tour. A good omen.
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