A fairytale series: Ajinkya Rahane scripts Boxing Day Test in style

Sydney: The Boxing Day Test between India and Australia will go down in history as one of the greatest cricketing comebacks in terms of the shift in performance between two games. After seeing the entire Indian team being bundled out for 36 runs in the second innings of the Adelaide Test that Australia won by 8 wickets, the tourists scripted a dramatic turnaround to beat the hosts by 8 wickets in Melbourne.

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The Indian cricket team had its back against the wall as the players arrived at MCG for the second Test of the 4-match series. With primary skipper Virat Kohli out with paternity leave and veteran pacer Mohammed Shami injured, the Indians had their task cut out.

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Ajinkya Rahane, leading the team in the absence of Kohli, showed immaculate character and grit to produce one of his finest innings with the bat in the longest format of the game. Rahane added 112 runs to India’s total of 326 runs after his bowlers had bundled out the Aussies for 195 runs in the first innings. Rahane also had some help from Ravindra Jadeja who scored 57 runs in the innings.

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Jadeja then upped the ante with the ball in the second innings and gave India two important wickets of Matthew Wade and Tim Paine. Jasprit Bumrah (2), Mohammed Siraj (3), Ravichandran Ashwin (2) and Umesh Yadav (1) were all among wickets as India bundled out Australia for 200 runs in the second innings, giving themselves just 70 runs to chase on Day 4.

When it came to chasing the target, India did incur a few hiccups as Mayank Agarwal fell cheaply once again while Cheteshwar Pujara — India’s best batsman during the team’s previous tour Down Under — departed after contributing just three runs. Shubman Gill (35) and stand-in skipper Rahane (27), however, showed resilience to chase down the target without another dismissal.

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