Mark Waugh had been criticizing India’s skipper by branding his recent form on his lack of concentration or “brain-fade”. The former player might have spoken too soon that Virat Kohli’s aggressive approach had rubbed on to the other members of the Indian team in a wrong way.
“The team wanted to prove themselves”- Virat Kohli
With a paltry score of 188 to defend, Indians had a tough task to restrict the in-form Australian batsmen. Earlier KL Rahul who scored 90(205) had been anchoring the first innings of the once again disappointing Indian lineup who were ripped through by a brilliant spell from Nathan Lyon (8/50).
Economic performances from Steven’O’Keefe and Mitchell Starc helped restrict Indians for 189 on the first day itself. On the counter, Australia racked up 276 with valuable scores from Matt Renshaw 60(196), Shaun Marsh 66(197), and 40(113) from Mathew Wade. However, a consistent bowling effort from Ravindra Jadeja (6/63) and an off-colored Ravichandran Ashwin, who’s major strike was the dismissal of David Warner, was enough to limit the Australian lead to 92 runs after the round-up of first innings.
The second half of the Indian gameplay was visibly more aggressive and composed. KL Rahul once again proved his mettle with a confident 51(86). However, an unlucky dismissal of Virat Kohli proved why India has always been in opposition to the DRS.
Cheteshwar Pujara 92(221) was strongly holding the ground and Ajinkya Rahane’s (52) later in the match helped add a match-turning 118-run stand for the fifth wicket edging India ahead. J R Hazlewood scalped 6 wickets for 67 and was the prize winner in this innings.
Amongst the controversial decision of dismissal of the Indian Skipper and heated exchange of words from both sides regarding the impotency of the DRS and taking its advantage, Indians set up a target of 188 to defend. With one and a half days of gameplay left Indians had to chalk out the perfect approach. Ishant Sharma opened the account with a quick dismissal of the in-form Matt Renshaw 5(12).
Then it was the demi legend Ravichandran Ashwin’s performance. He took his 25th five-wicket haul to skittle out the Australian batting line up. This jolted out a strong comeback performance from the under-fire host team.
The bowling figures of 6 for 41 included regular breakthroughs including a personal duel with the Australian pacer Mitchell Starc. Umesh Yadav also impressed by taking two crucial wickets of Shaun Marsh and the Australian skipper Steve Smith.
Indians scripted out a dominating performance in the second half. They leveled the series by 1-1 by winning the match by 75 runs. This way they proved themselves a point and silenced the irrational critics in India and down under.