Australia loses in another three-day Test after a humiliating performance. After the first Test’s debacle, Australia decided to bat first in the second, and Usman Khawaja was brought in to bat. He had Handscomb’s support even though Smith and Labuschagne had a rare failure. Shami had four picks in the first inning, compared to three each for Ashwin and Jadeja. As KL Rahul’s rough patch persisted and most of their top-order struggled to score runs, India’s response was shaky. Axar and Ashwin served as the rearguard, cutting the lead to just one run when they reached 139/7.
Australia was 61-1 at the start of day three and confident that it would continue its batting counterattack from the previous evening. As Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin took all ten wickets on day three’s morning, the visitors only lasted 19.1 overs. However, it was the Indian spinners who went on a tear. Cheteshwar Pujara and Rohit Sharma were at the wickets when India was 14-1 and needed to win by 115 runs.
As Australia crumbled for a paltry score of 113, he finished with figures that were career highs of 7/42. India struggled during the chase as Rohit ran himself out and Rahul was dismissed cheaply. KS Bharat added the finishing touches with his unbeaten cameo of 23, but Pujara held the line from one end despite Kohli and Iyer losing.
Here’s what coach Dravid had to say about Rohit’s leadership role –
Rahul Dravid – I think he has been brilliant. He has the respect of the dressing room. He is one of those guys who has been there a long time. The kind of person who doesn’t speak a lot, but when he does they all listen. He deeply cares a lot about the dressing room and the players. We are very lucky to have Rohit take over the leadership from someone like Virat. (On the turning point) This Test match moved up and down, but today morning it moved really quickly for us. I think it was the partnership between Axar and Ashwin that changed things. We wanted to chase something close to 200-225 and that partnership enabled us to get back, or we’d have been trailing. A bit of a downer to concede too many runs in the evening, I think we bowled probably wrong and were all over the place, and they came hard at us, but we course-corrected this morning. It was just brilliant then how the game moved.