India beat Australia in Boxing Day Test: Key takeaways
Team India handed Australia a one-sided defeat in the Boxing Day Test. With a thumping victory, the tourists have squared the four-match Border-Gavaskar series 1-1. Notably, India won their second-ever Test while chasing Down Under. This was also India's third consecutive Test victory under Ajinkya Rahane, who led in the absence of Virat Kohli. Here are the key takeaways.
Batting first, Australia had a shaky start before they were bundled out for 195. In reply, India posted 326 with the help of an emphatic ton by skipper Rahane. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja too played a supportive knock (57), which helped India get on top.. After Australia were bowled out on 200 in the second innings, the tourists chased down the 70-run target comfortably.
Mohammed Siraj received the nod ahead of Navdeep Saini after senior bowler Mohammed Shami was ruled out of the series. The former made the most of the opportunity, impressing in both the innings. He picked up a total of five wickets in the match (2/40, 3/37). Siraj bowled in the right areas, and also produced a decent amount of movement throughout the match.
Indian captain, Rahane, was adjudged the Player of the Match for being the lone centurion in the match. His 112 off 223 balls laid the foundation of India's eight-wicket victory. This was his 12th century in Test cricket. Rahane's tremendous knock needs to be lauded as he showed a wide array of strokes in front of a star-studded Australian bowling line-up.
In a surprising move, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja came in as a replacement for Virat Kohli in the MCG Test. He justified his selection with his all-rounder attributes. In the first innings, he played a supportive knock as he and skipper Rahane took India past 300. This was his 15th fifty in the Test format. He also snapped up three wickets in the match.
The Australian batsmen perished in both the innings. None of them recorded a 50+ score in the game. It was a rather unusual tactic by the Australians, who played at a slow pace. Even Steve Smith couldn't sail them through. Notably, his 8,0 has become the second-lowest aggregate for him in a Test, wherein he has been dismissed twice.
Budding opener Shubman Gill, who replaced Prithvi Shaw for the MCG Test, was impressive in both the innings. His decisive footwork drew praise from all around the world. It will be interesting to see whether he retains his spot with Rohit Sharma's arrival.
Pace spearhead Umesh Yadav bowled well in the second innings. However, on Day 3, he limped over after completing his follow-through. As a result of the pain, he went off the field. Eventually, it was reported that he complained of pain in his calf while bowling, and was assessed by BCCI's medical team. It remains to be seen if plays the third Test.
Skipper Rahane led from the front at the MCG. His composure throughout the Test stood out, especially considering how India had faced a humiliating defeat in Adelaide. He deserves even more credit for leading a side sans Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma, and Mohammed Shami to a Test victory Down Under. Interestingly, Rahane maintains a 100 percent record as captain, so far.