India bounced back in style to register an eight-wicket win against Australia on the fourth day of the second Test match at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground, chasing down the fourth innings target of 70 runs. Debutant Shubman Gill stayed unbeaten on 35 while captain Ajinkya Rahane completed the job he started in the first innings with a century as he blunted the Aussie attack with a signature unbeaten 27 and deservingly scored the winning runs.
The victory was India’s fourth at the MCG which means Melbourne has become India’s most successful venue away from home. This is a huge feat for India as Australia have traditionally been the toughest team to beat at home, especially for Asian countries.
Memories of the horror show of Adelaide must have come back to haunt the Indian cricket fans early on Tuesday morning as the impeccable line, length and pace of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins saw Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara sent back early. But Gill and Rahane stemmed the rot like they did in the first innings to take the visitors home. This was India’s second win in a row at Melbourne in Test cricket.
INDIA vs AUSTRALIA – 2nd TEST, DAY 4 – FULL HIGHLIGHTS
Earlier, the Indian bowlers ended the dogged resistance of the Australian tail, which managed to face 37.1 overs on the fourth morning and added 67 runs to their overnight score of 133/6.
It was frustrating but the Indian bowlers kept at it and the breakthrough finally came when Pat Cummins was sent back by Bumrah for 22, which broke a dangerous a 57-run stand.
Young all-rounder Cameron Green gave a great example of his temperament as he scored a patient 45 off 146 deliveries, adding another 21 runs with Mitchell Starc before falling to debutant Mohammed Siraj. The Hyderabad paceman accounted for Nathan Lyon soon, before Ravichandran Ashwin ended Josh Hazlewood’s brief stay in the middle as the hosts set India a target of 70 runs to win.
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The foundation of the victory was set by the Indian batsmen who responded in style after their historic low of 36/9 in the second innings of the Adelaide Test. India took a massive lead of 131 runs as they scored 326 with skipper Ajinkya Rahane leading from the front with a knock of 112, which came to an end due to a run out.
Rahane stitched a 57-run fifth-wicket stand with Rishabh Pant before joining forces with Ravindra Jadeja to add another 121 runs that put India in the driver’s seat. Jadeja scored 57 while debutant Shubman Gill impressed with a chancy knock of 45 at the top of the order. Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon picked up three wickets apiece for the hosts.
India’s batsmen complemented the performance of its bowlers who were outstanding after Tim Paine decided to bat first after winning the toss. While Jasprit Bumrah ended the innings with 4/56, it was the guile of Ravichandran Ashwin that broke the back of the Aussie batting as he accounted for the key wickets of Matthew Wade, Steve Smith (for a duck) and Tim Paine. Siraj chipped in with two wickets in his debut Test innings while Jadeja picked up one.
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But the real damage was done by the Indian bowlers on the third day as they showed great discipline to remove 6 Australian wickets, in the hosts’ second essay, on a pitch that was getting slower and becoming easier to bat on.
Umesh Yadav provided the breakthrough before hobbling off the field due to a calf injury. Down by a bowler, Bumrah and Ashwin dug deep in their reserves to bowl lengthy spells and picked up key wickets. They were backed up brilliantly by the duo of Siraj and Jadeja. The left-arm spin of Jadeja accounting for the wickets of Matthew Wade and Tim Paine.
It’s all to play for as the series is now tied at 1-1 with two matches to go and poised perfectly for the third match at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground.