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'Mature' Siraj, Calm leadership of Rahane gives India 8 wicket victory over Aussies at MCG

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Mature Siraj, Calm leadership of Rahane gives India 8 wicket victory over Aussies at MCG
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Melbourne: India defeated Australia by eight wickets in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Cricket Ground on Tuesday. The four-Test series is now level at 1-1. Australia had won the first Test in Adelaide, also by eight wickets.

The eight-wicket win was only the eighth time in 50 Test matches they have beaten Australia in Australia. Half of these wins -- four, have come at the MCG. India have won one in Perth (2008), one in Sydney (1978) and two in Adelaide (2003 and 2018) besides.

Indian coach Ravi Shastri termed the win over Aussies as one of the greatest comebacks 'in the history of the game'.

Asked where he would place this week's MCG win the India coach said this win deserves a place in the annals of cricket history. Shastri termed Captain Ajinkya Rahane as shrewd and calm leader and said that he has a good understanding of the game. He also termed Rahane's first-innings knock of 112 as the turning point of the match which turned the wind in India's favour.

"The discipline he showed on such a big stage in such a massive arena, to come as captain of the team, bat at No. 4.

The 58-year-old former India all-rounder also compared Rahane to Kohli, saying that though both are good readers of the game they are different in nature.

"Both are good readers of the game. Virat is very passionate while Ajinkya on the other hand is very calm and composed. It is their characters... Virat is more in your face while Rahane is prepared to sit back in a very calm and composed manner but deep inside he knows what he wants," Shastri said

He also praised bowler Muhammed Siraj saying that the pace bowler has shown great maturity in the game.

Meanwhile Siraj became the first debutant for India in seven years to pick five wickets in a Test match when he finished the second Test match with a haul of five wickets for 77 runs in 36.3 overs.

Siraj got the wicket of Cameron Green in both the innings while he also had Marnus Labuschagne (in first innings) and Travis Head and Nathan Lyon (in second innings) as India defeated Australia by eight wickets to level the four-Test series 1-1.

Mohammed Shami, who Siraj replaced in the MCG Test, was the last India bowler to take at least five wickets in a debut Test when he got a nine-wicket haul against West Indies in Kolkata in November, 2013.

The victory at MCG comes in the absence of regular India skipper Virat Kohli and injury to key India fast bowlers Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma as well as Umesh Yadav (in the second innings).

Meanwhile Australia skipper Tim Paine reacted that "Not enough runs on the board and dropping a number of catches led to Australia's eight-wicket defeat"

Paine also credited the India bowlers saying they have been extremely disciplined and are executing the plans better than the Aussie batsmen have been.

The Aussie skipper hinted that they might look to attack the Indian bowlers from the next game, something that Steve Smith had said earlier in the morning before the day's play.

Set a target of 70 after Australia were dismissed for 200 in their second innings on Tuesday, the Indians got to the target for the loss of opener Mayank Agarwal (5) and No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara (3).

Shubman Gill, who hit seven fours in a delightful innings, was unbeaten on 35 and skipper Ajinkya Rahane on 27.

Earlier, the Aussies, who resumed on 133 for six, added 67 more runs before getting bowled out at the stroke of lunch in the extended first session.

(with input from IANS)

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