India’s defining performance gives them a heads up against Australia on the second day of the Boxing day test in Melbourne

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India vs Australia 2nd Test Match

After two days of grueling test cricket, India has managed to stay on top of Australia for most sessions of the game. It all started with a toss that didn’t go India’s way. Looking to use the two spinners in the last leg of the match, India wanted to bat first. However, the drop-in pitches helped the spinners in the first day itself, and Ashwin sent Australia’s most dangerous player, Steve Smith, packing to the pavilion for a duck. Overall, India was excellent with the ball and the bat on the first day of the game from where it took the momentum and gained a substantial lead over Australia on the second day. 

Indias Bowling Performance

On day one of the match, India got three Australian wickets for cheap early in the day. Bowling from India was on the spot from the first over of the game. Like what most of the fans expected, Jasprit Bumrah got the first wicket for India by making Joe Burns; the Australian opener, nick the ball while defending on the front foot. 

From this first wicket, the momentum which India got became too heavy for Australia. After a series of wickets, Travis Head and Labuschagne managed to make a small partnership for Australia. But it was soon broken by India’s key speedster Bumrah when he got Head out at the third slip, who was caught by Rahane. Then came the debutant from Hyderabad, Mohammed Siraj. 

It was a dream debut for the fast bowler since he got the key wicket of Labuschagne on the leg gully where another debutant Shubman Gill took a fascinating catch diving to his right. Siraj also got Cameron Green, a young Australian all-rounder, out for cheap. The Hyderabad fast bowler was exceptional with the old ball making it go in and out for the batsman. 

Another man who was vital to India’s bowling the first day was Ravichandran Ashwin. Arguably the best off-spinner playing the game today, he got Smith for zero at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), where he averages more than 100. He also got the wickets Mathew Wade and Tim Paine, the Australian skipper. 

Australias Bowling Performance 

Australia had a dream start again with Mitchell Starc sending Mayank Agarwal back to the pavilion in the first over of India’s batting innings. But Cheteshwar Pujara and Gill managed to stay in the crease till the end of the day and give India a stable start. Australia hit the right areas with the ball but dropped the opportunity of getting Gill out for cheap. 

 Even on the second day of the match, Australia has dropped opportunities of getting Indian batsman out. Mitchell Starc has been impressive with the new ball, but he isn’t as good when it comes to the old ball like he used to be. On the other hand, Cummins and Hazelwood have not done anything wrong; it’s just that Indian batsmen have been too good on the second day. 

Indias Batting Performance 

India started a little shaky with Agarwal getting out in the first over of the innings. But it was controlled by the partnership of Gill and Pujara. It is worth noting that Gill got his first runs in international cricket by hitting a boundary to the best in the game, Cummins. Labuschagne soon dropped him at the third slip. Gill looked strong and calm playing his shots, almost as if telling everyone watching the game, that he belongs there. 

Gill was later dropped again by Paine. However, Cummins got Gill soon, and luckily for Paine, the catch went to him. After getting Gill, in his next over, Cummins got Pujara as well, where Paine took a one-handed blinder to dismiss the Indian batsman. Hanuma Vihari and Pant couldn’t do anything impactful but stayed on the crease for some time, each looking to build a partnership. 

One man who stayed on the crease and ensured that India got the lead over Australia was the new Indian captain, Ajinkya Rahane. In the last session of the day, Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja took over the Australian fast bowlers and built an impressive partnership. Even against the new ball, these two played brilliantly. It is worth mentioning that Rahane was dropped at the slip by Smith in the first over after the new ball came into the match.

Rahane also became the first batsman in the series to score a century. Jadeja complemented him well from the other end, taking quick singles and hitting boundaries regularly throughout the day. The duo also crossed the hundred run partnership and kept going until the end of the day.

What does India need to do Now? 

India has finished strong on day two with Rahane and Jadeja going not out. It will be interesting to see how the game plays out on the third day. But one thing is for sure, India needs to keep on batting for as long as possible now. With more runs on the board, Australia can be backed into a corner if the Indian bowlers get a few wickets with the new ball. There are three more days of the game left, and India has set a foundation which it can leverage into winning the game and leveling the series with Australia. 

The pitch is expected to have the same bounce going ahead, but it might start turning more. It can be something that India can take advantage of and push Australia on the back foot. For Australia to make a comeback, it needs to start taking quick wickets, or else it will be too large a lead for it to chase.

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