India vs Australia: ‘First-class experience comes in handy,’ Rahane lauds debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj for impressive performance
India made wholesale changes to their playing XI for the second Test match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. After the debacle in Adelaide where they were bowled out for just 36 runs, India brought in Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja into the team while handing debuts to Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill. It worked for India as both Gill and Siraj made the most of the opportunities given to them as they impressed with their performance.
Shubman scored 45 in the first innings while hitting an unbeaten 35 in the run-chase. On the other hand, Siraj took 2 wickets in the first innings while picking up three in the second innings. India had lost Umesh Yadav to injury so there was added responsibility on Siraj’s shoulders. But they performed under-pressure as India won the Test by 8 wickets.
They were the stars of the match for India along with stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane. The Indian captain refused to take credit for his Man of the Match show in the second Test. Having hit the winning run to seal the win on Tuesday, the batsman immediately pointed at the brilliant show put on by the team.
“Really proud of all the players. Played really well. Want to give credit to the debutants (Mohammed) Siraj and (Shubman) Gill, the character they showed after the Adelaide loss was great to see,” he said in the post-match presentation.
While Gill didn’t put the stands on fire, he definitely weathered the fire thrown at him by the duo of Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins. And Rahane was quick to point out how the youngster stood tall. He also praised Siraj for standing up and getting counted, especially with India missing Umesh in the second innings.
“Shubman, we all know his first-class career and in this game, he has shown the intent to play shots at this level. Has shown composure. Siraj has shown that he can bowl with discipline. It’s really difficult for debutants to bowl with discipline but that’s where I think the first-class experience comes in handy,” he pointed.
Harping on the need to show character after being hammered in the pink-ball Test at the Adelaide Oval, Rahane said: “Character was important for us, especially after losing Umesh in the second innings. That (five-bowler plan) worked well for us nicely. We were thinking of having an all-rounder and Jadeja has been brilliant for us.”
Commenting on the talk in the dressing room after losing the first Test, he said: “The talk was all about showing the attitude and intent on the field. As I said, character. Adelaide was about one hour that took the game away from us. Lots to learn for even now. Australia applied themselves with their last five wickets.”
While Rahane confirmed that Rohit is set to join the team for the third game, he didn’t say much on Umesh’s injury. “Umesh is recovering well, management and medical staff will take the call. We’re excited about Rohit coming back. Spoke to him yesterday, he’s waiting to join the team,” he said.
(with ANI inputs)