Bye ”˜King’ Kohli, welcome ”˜Raja’ Rahane

 By Kersi Meher-Homji

What a transformation! All out for 36 runs one day, a convincing winner by 8 wickets a week later. India’s stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane scored a splendid century””the only one in this topsy-turvy Test series so far ”“ hit the winning run and was adjudged Man of the Match.

At the presentation Rahane said, “Really proud of all the players, credit to our debutants [Shubman] Gill and [Mohammad] Siraj. The way they showed character was amazing. Unfortunately, we lost Umesh [Yadav] but credit to everyone. The five bowling options worked out really well.

“We were thinking of one all-rounder and Jadeja did really well. Shubman has done well in first-class cricket, showed intent and composure. Siraj bowled with a lot of discipline. Sometimes as debutants, you can get carried away but guys who play first-class cricket for four to five years know what to do. It makes a captain’s job easier.

“The talk was all about showing attitude, intent and character. One hour took the game away from us in Adelaide but we still have a lot to learn. Australia applied themselves in the second innings after losing six early wickets. Umesh is recovering well, we’re excited about Rohit [Sharma] coming back. I spoke to him yesterday and he’s really excited about coming back.”

Farewell to India’s cricket captain ”˜King’ Kohli as we welcome stand-in captain ”˜Raja’ Rahane.

Australia won the toss, batted and were bowled out for 195, quickie Jasprit Bumrah capturing four wickets and off-spinner Ravi Ashwin three.

India started well with debutant Shubman Gill smacking 45 runs with eight fours. Then Rahane (112 with 12 fours) and Ravindra Jadeja (57 with three fours) added 121 for the sixth wicket. India totaled 326 to secure a lead of 131 runs. Fast bowler Mitchell Starc and off-spinner Nathan Lyon took three wickets each.

Australia looked like losing by an innings when they lost their first six wickets for only 99 runs, still 32 runs in deficit. But newcomer Cameron Green playing only his second Test scored 45, adding 57 valuable runs with Pat Cummins for the seventh wicket.

Set 70 runs to win India lost two wickets for only 19 runs and Indian supporters momentary recalled the 36 all out Adelaide nightmare. But as if saying “No need to panic”, skipper Rahane and Shubman Gill took India to a series-levelling 8 wicket win.

Back home, Virat Kohli was ecstatic with India’s easy victory. He tweeted, “What a win this is, absolutely amazing effort by the whole team! Couldn’t be happier for the boys and specially Jinks [Ajinkya Rahane] who led the team to victory amazingly. Onwards and upwards from here.”

In a lighter vein

  • The Indian selectors must be avid readers of The Indian Down Under website. In my last article for TIDU, I had suggested that all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja should be included, Rishbah Pant should replace Wriddhiman Saha as wicket-keeper batsman and Shubman Gill should come in for Prithvi Shaw as an opening batsman. And didn’t they contribute significantly to India’s victory?
  • Now we have a trio of cricketing Gils; Shubman Gill, age 21 who made a promising debut for India in the above Test scoring 45 and an unbeaten 35 elegant runs, Australia’s penetrating leg-spinner Stuart MacGill a decade ago and Australia’s legendary wicket-keeper batsman, Adam Gilchrist.

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