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Rahane romances with MCG to make India smile

By The Assam Tribune

MELBOURNE, Dec 29: Hungry for redemption, India recorded a win for the ages under an inspirational Ajinkya Rahane, beating Australia by eight wickets in the second Test to level the four-match series 1-1 here on Tuesday.

The target of 70 was never a big one but for a team that was bowled out for its all-time lowest score of 36 only 10 days back, one can�t fault them if that played at the back of their minds.

Shubman Gill (35 not out) and skipper Rahane (27 not out) knocked off the runs in 15.5 overs to complete the victory.

This was after the quartet comprising Jasprit Bumrah (2/54 in 27 overs), debutant Mohammed Siraj (3/37 in 21.3 overs), Ravichandran Ashwin (2/71 in 37.1 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/28 in 14 overs) showed incredible consistency over a period of 100 overs on the flattest of decks, where extra bounce became their go-to weapon.

Indian teams, since the turn of the new millennium, have had some memorable overseas victories but when the backdrop and context of this Test at the iconic MCG is recorded for posterity, Rahane and his magnificent bowling unit will find more than an honourable mention in the pages of history.

The Indian teams of yore used to lose stomach for a good scrap after humiliating defeats but not this one. It stood out for the manner of its comeback in the absence of a genius called Virat Kohli and a magician in Mohammed Shami.

And then, the side faced yet another blow with Umesh Yadav�s calf muscle injury mid-match which reduced a five-pronged bowling attack to four men.

But in the last three and half days, Rahane, first with his hundred and then with a solid leadership, showed what Kohli meant when he spoke about �New India�.

Along with skills, it was the mental fortitude that shone through as the team didn�t take too much time to bury the ghosts of Adelaide and clear the cobwebs in their minds getting Australia all-out for 195 and 200 in two innings.

For someone, whose Test match place was being questioned during the last 18 months, Rahane was certainly �Captain Cool� in a new avatar, bamboozling the opposition with his tactical acumen and marshalling of resources.

On the first day, it was about assessing the moisture on the surface and giving Ashwin a go ahead before debutant Siraj in the first hour of the match, all the while keeping that leg gully in business for Steve Smith.

It worked wonderfully well and then he understood pretty quickly that Siraj, with his hit-the-deck bowling, could work wonders with the semi-new or old Kookaburra when the seam would flatten. � PTI

SCOREBOARD

Australia 1st Innings: 195

India 1st Innings: 326

Australia 2nd innings (Overnight 133/6): Matthew Wade lbw b Ravindra Jadeja 40, Joe Burns c Pant b Umesh 4, Marnus Labuschagne c Rahane b Ashwin 28, Steven Smith b Bumrah 8, Travis Head c Mayank Agarwal b Siraj 17, Cameron Green c Jadeja b Siraj 45, Tim Paine c Pant b Ravindra Jadeja 1, Pat Cummins c Agarwal b Bumrah 22, Mitchell Starc not out 14, Nathan Lyon c Pant b Siraj 3, Josh Hazlewood b Ashwin 10. Extras: (LB-5, NB-3) 8. Total: (All out in 103.1 overs) 200. Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-42, 3-71, 4-98, 5-98, 6-99, 7-156, 8-177, 9-185. Bowling: Jasprit Bumrah 27-6-54-2, Umesh Yadav 3.3-0-5-1, Mohammed Siraj 21.3-4-37-3, Ravichandran Ashwin 37.1-6-71-2, Ravindra Jadeja 14-5-28-2.

India 2nd Innings: Mayank Agarwal c Paine b Starc 5, Shubman Gill not out 35, Cheteshwar Pujara c Green b Cummins 3, Ajinkya Rahane not out 27. Total: (For 2 wickets in 15.5 overs) 70. Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-19. Bowling: Mitchell Starc 4-0-20-1, Pat Cummins 5-0-22-1, Josh Hazlewood 3-1-14-0, Nathan Lyon 2.5-0-5-0, Marnus Labuschagne 1-0-9-0.

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Rahane romances with MCG to make India smile

MELBOURNE, Dec 29: Hungry for redemption, India recorded a win for the ages under an inspirational Ajinkya Rahane, beating Australia by eight wickets in the second Test to level the four-match series 1-1 here on Tuesday.

The target of 70 was never a big one but for a team that was bowled out for its all-time lowest score of 36 only 10 days back, one can�t fault them if that played at the back of their minds.

Shubman Gill (35 not out) and skipper Rahane (27 not out) knocked off the runs in 15.5 overs to complete the victory.

This was after the quartet comprising Jasprit Bumrah (2/54 in 27 overs), debutant Mohammed Siraj (3/37 in 21.3 overs), Ravichandran Ashwin (2/71 in 37.1 overs) and Ravindra Jadeja (2/28 in 14 overs) showed incredible consistency over a period of 100 overs on the flattest of decks, where extra bounce became their go-to weapon.

Indian teams, since the turn of the new millennium, have had some memorable overseas victories but when the backdrop and context of this Test at the iconic MCG is recorded for posterity, Rahane and his magnificent bowling unit will find more than an honourable mention in the pages of history.

The Indian teams of yore used to lose stomach for a good scrap after humiliating defeats but not this one. It stood out for the manner of its comeback in the absence of a genius called Virat Kohli and a magician in Mohammed Shami.

And then, the side faced yet another blow with Umesh Yadav�s calf muscle injury mid-match which reduced a five-pronged bowling attack to four men.

But in the last three and half days, Rahane, first with his hundred and then with a solid leadership, showed what Kohli meant when he spoke about �New India�.

Along with skills, it was the mental fortitude that shone through as the team didn�t take too much time to bury the ghosts of Adelaide and clear the cobwebs in their minds getting Australia all-out for 195 and 200 in two innings.

For someone, whose Test match place was being questioned during the last 18 months, Rahane was certainly �Captain Cool� in a new avatar, bamboozling the opposition with his tactical acumen and marshalling of resources.

On the first day, it was about assessing the moisture on the surface and giving Ashwin a go ahead before debutant Siraj in the first hour of the match, all the while keeping that leg gully in business for Steve Smith.

It worked wonderfully well and then he understood pretty quickly that Siraj, with his hit-the-deck bowling, could work wonders with the semi-new or old Kookaburra when the seam would flatten. � PTI

SCOREBOARD

Australia 1st Innings: 195

India 1st Innings: 326

Australia 2nd innings (Overnight 133/6): Matthew Wade lbw b Ravindra Jadeja 40, Joe Burns c Pant b Umesh 4, Marnus Labuschagne c Rahane b Ashwin 28, Steven Smith b Bumrah 8, Travis Head c Mayank Agarwal b Siraj 17, Cameron Green c Jadeja b Siraj 45, Tim Paine c Pant b Ravindra Jadeja 1, Pat Cummins c Agarwal b Bumrah 22, Mitchell Starc not out 14, Nathan Lyon c Pant b Siraj 3, Josh Hazlewood b Ashwin 10. Extras: (LB-5, NB-3) 8. Total: (All out in 103.1 overs) 200. Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-42, 3-71, 4-98, 5-98, 6-99, 7-156, 8-177, 9-185. Bowling: Jasprit Bumrah 27-6-54-2, Umesh Yadav 3.3-0-5-1, Mohammed Siraj 21.3-4-37-3, Ravichandran Ashwin 37.1-6-71-2, Ravindra Jadeja 14-5-28-2.

India 2nd Innings: Mayank Agarwal c Paine b Starc 5, Shubman Gill not out 35, Cheteshwar Pujara c Green b Cummins 3, Ajinkya Rahane not out 27. Total: (For 2 wickets in 15.5 overs) 70. Fall of wickets: 1-16, 2-19. Bowling: Mitchell Starc 4-0-20-1, Pat Cummins 5-0-22-1, Josh Hazlewood 3-1-14-0, Nathan Lyon 2.5-0-5-0, Marnus Labuschagne 1-0-9-0.

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