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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.
What a win this is, absolutely amazing effort by the whole team. Couldn’t be happier for the boys and specially Jin… https://t.co/Oi53Lpb49K
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) 1609214654000
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 maniacal consistency over a period of 100 overs on the flattest of decks, where extra bounce became their go-to weapon.
अद्भुत भारत, अतुल्य भारत, ‘अजिंक्य’ भारत! 🇮🇳 #INDvAUS #AUSvIND https://t.co/KIgNjfe945
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) 1609214361000
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.
A really special win at the MCG. Great Determination and great character. Rahane led from the fron,the bowlers wer… https://t.co/Igc0pwhIus
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) 1609214769000
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 was also hamstrung by Umesh Yadav‘s calf muscle injury mid-match which reduced a five-pronged bowling attack to four men.
Well done team India @BCCI. Never underestimate a wounded tiger 😉#AUSvIND https://t.co/4kCHgRyW4i
— DK (@DineshKarthik) 1609214345000
But in the last three and half days, Rahane, first with his hundred and then with 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.
🏏 112🏏 27*India captain Ajinkya Rahane has been adjudged as the Player of the Match after leading from the front… https://t.co/DhZ8efgRde
— ICC (@ICC) 1609215408000
For someone, whose Test match place was being questioned during the last 18 months, Rahane was certainly ‘Captain Cool’ in a new avatar, baboozling the opposition with his tactical acumen and marshalling of resources.
A famous win for India at the MCG. To me, this win is on par with the Perth win of 2007/08. On both the occasions,… https://t.co/hPwXBlqvch
— ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ | Dodda Ganesh (@doddaganesha) 1609214289000
On the first day, it was about assessing the moisture on the surface and giving Ashwin a go 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.
India level the series in a gripping Test match played in front of almost 90k fans across the four days at the @MCG… https://t.co/FpUXWM1EWv
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) 1609214778000
While batting, he was like that bandmaster, who knew how to conduct his orchestra whether it was young Gill or the seasoned Ravindra Jadeja.
Rahane rates his hundred in a winning cause at Lord’s six years back as his best effort but for fans, the innings at Melbourne will always be way more precious.
https://t.co/eQNZo0Ou2G! 👏👏#TeamIndia bounce back in style to beat Australia by 8⃣ wickets to level the four-matc… https://t.co/KwAGmH1kk9
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1609214526000
On fourth morning, Rahane, after giving a three-over spell to Bumrah on the, understood instantly that the old ball is not doing anything and took him off the attack to keep him fresh for the second new ball.
It was another great tactical decision as Bumrah bounced Cummins to end the stand that consumed more than 36 overs.
Coming from 36 all out. No Kohli, Rohit, Shami & Ishant for the Second Test. Defeating Aussies in their frontier. W… https://t.co/yrMmpVQFrB
— Hemang Badani (@hemangkbadani) 1609214503000
The second new ball did the trick as Cameron Green (45 off 146 balls) and Cummins (22 off 103 balls) were dismissed after their frustrating 57-run stand for the seventh wicket.
Green’s gutsy knock had five boundaries as he tried to get Australia out of the woods during a classical Test match session.
It was a well-directed bouncer aimed between the batsman’s jaw and shoulder and the awkward fend was taken by Mayank Agarwal at second slip.
Boxing day challenge conquered 🇮🇳💪Together we stronger 🇮🇳Soaring On 🙌💪Nice way to end the year 🇮🇳😉 Well done t… https://t.co/wxqndXwzhq
— Ravindrasinh jadeja (@imjadeja) 1609215481000
Green, who was starting to become a thorn in the flesh, tried to pull Siraj but the extra bounce did him in as Ravindra Jadeja, fielding at mid-wicket, timed his spot jump to perfection ending the batsman’s vigil.
Siraj and Ashwin then mopped up the tail setting a total of 70 for their batsmen.
The victory was unquestionable but again it was Rahane, a former Karate 10th Dan black belt, decided to guide Gill, doing his apprentice in Test cricket.
The skipper first played a perfect Sunil Gvaskar-like forward defensive stroke where the ball lands on the feet of the batsmen like an obedient cocker spaniel.
A win to remember. A win to cherish. Considering the Adelaide debacle and the quality of players unavailable for th… https://t.co/5xYxEEBGSc
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) 1609215378000
The next ball, brought out an imperious pull-shot, showing the intent which let Gill blossom in that short period of time.
Congratulations #TeamIndia! What a victory at Melbourne to level the series. Historic in every sense. Well played… https://t.co/W0ThmEVONP
— Jay Shah (@JayShah) 1609215428000
It was only fitting that he fought fire with fire during that brief knock and it was poetic justice that he was there till the end.
Kohli will be back in whites in about a month and half when he walks out at the Chepauk leading his band of men but one won’t forget ‘Captain Rahane’ in a hurry.