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28 December, 2020

Test Victory In The Bag, India Need 3 More Changes To Win 3rd Test




Anand Mahindra, chairman of automobile and IT conglomerate
Pic / image courtesy: BCCI.TV

Mahindra Group tweeted this after India's 8-wicket Test victory at the MCG on Wednesday: "
This match should be studied by psychologists & motivational experts to understand & appreciate the turnaround."

Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, the man of the match, summed up this turnaround in three words: Character, Intent, Attitude.

So Mahindra's recommendation to psychologists and motivational experts would be to include these three traits, CIA, into their study of the match.

The word 'Character' confounded commentator Harsha Bhogle who felt that it was being used increasingly. Bhogle, originally from Hyderabad, became more curious when legends Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar too used 'Character' when summarising the series leveling victory.

'Character' is indeed a popular term used in Mumbai's cricket world from where all three Gavaskar, Tendulkar and Rahane rose to fame.

The word is used loosely to refer to someone's eccentricity as in "He's a character" as well as to explain a person or team's positive side as in "They showed great character".

Together, Rahane and head coach Ravi Shastri, who's also from Mumbai ended up using the most appropriate of the several meanings Character, Intent, Attitude have in the English dictionary. 

These, for themselves and for the entire revamped team, without Virat Kohli, another Mumbaikar Rohit Sharma, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami.

Implementing the true meaning of these three words or terms on the field was a herculean task.

However, all of India's 11 players, two of them debutants, successfully applied them against an opposition, playing at home and riding on the back of a thumping victory.

"Really proud of the players. Credit to debutants Gill and Siraj, they showed 'character' after the loss in Adelaide, " News18's CricketNext quoted Rahane saying after the match that was the 100th Test between the two sides.

Whatwears WW Rahane also had a message for the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and selectors when he indicated that Gill and Siraj benefited immensely from the extensive first class level cricket they had played before their debut. "When you play first-class cricket and then come here, it becomes really easy for the captain," Rahane said.

As humble as his nature is, what Rahane did not broach or boast about is how he made each team member believe and follow his own example that is: 'Patience is virtue.'

His patient, calm and composed approach throughout the match rubbed off on his teammates. 

Jasprit Bumrah used it to for himself and while tutoring newcomer Siraj on how perseverance with poise brings results.

Rahane showed remarkable patience like the popular bird
The Shikra


The Shikra is known to display immense patience in hunting down faster moving preys such as the squirrel and rodent.

Rahane, whether he was batting, taking crucial DRS decisions, making bowling changes, exhorting his bowlers and fielders to remain focused, was stoical.

As the stand-in captain, he has immediately accomplished Part One: Helping India level this 4-Test series 1-all.

By doing so, he even emulated Mahendra Singh Dhoni's record of three successive Test match wins as captain.

Part Two of his goal now would be to improve upon his shrewd selection of players, bowling changes, reading of the pitch and opposition during the 3rd and 4th Tests and ensure India leave Australia victorious in the Test series.

If he achieves this feat, he'll have unintentionally staked a claim or stoked a debate for a separate or specialist captain for Tests. 

Rahane did acknowledge the fact that the last five Aussie wickets were a tough nut to crack for him and his bowlers.

This is, perhaps, one grey area that he and the Indian thinktank need to strategize on.

Berrylook WW He may also do well to figure out what could be done with Mayank Agarwal and Cheteshwar Pujara, India's two top order batsmen who have been sorted out by the Aussies.

It's not about their form. It's about the chinks in their armor that the Australian bowlers have figured out in the four innings each that Agarwal and Pujara have batted.

In such a circumstance, it would be only wiser to make few more changes in the team for the better.

Could the likely playing XI for the 3rd Test be?:

Rohit Sharma
Shubman Gill
Cheteshwar Pujara
Ajinkya Rahane (C)
KL Rahul
Rishabh Pant (wk)
Ravindra Jadeja
Ravichandra Ashwin
Jasprit Bumrah
Mohammed Siraj
T Natarajan or Navdeep Saini

NameCheap [CPS] WW


MCG Test Now A Matter Of 'Patience Is Bitter, Result Is Sweet' For India

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Team India are on the cusp of a series levelling Test victory. 
Indian team celebrates a wicket. 
Pic courtesy: BCCI.TV & Getty Images

Australia and their fans are hoping India become complacent again and collapse like 
they did in Adelaide, for 36. 

They have four wickets in hand and are 2 runs ahead in their second innings, with India to bat last.

For an encore, they have Pat Cummins and Adelaide Test debutant Cameron Green at the crease, followed by Cummins's New South Wales mates Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood.

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Among the five, only Green has come into the team as a batsman who can bowl. Together, they are expecting they'll be able to gather runs on Day 4 (Wednesday) and  dismiss 10 Indian wickets for a win.

The only difference this time around is: They are facing a revamped Indian side, in positions and attitude.

From Boxing Day to Day 3, also called the Moving Day, this Melbourne Test has offered valuable lessons from India's perspective on how to stay calm, composed, have patience, not allow a previous huge defeat affect your psyche  - all when you are away from home and have been forced to make four changes to the team, including two debutants.

Stand-in captain Rahane's exemplary patience is helping himself, his teammates and India. He has become a prime reference point for explaining to anyone how patience is a virtue.

Debutant Mohammed Siraj, who has impressed former Australian players watching him bowl, said this during the press conference after the end of Monday's play: "Jassi [Bhai - Jasprit Bumrah] was constantly telling me to have patience and the result will come. The wicket was not offering anything. So, as a senior he [Bumrah] suggested we bowl more dot balls and build up pressure."

Onsitego [CPA] IN As a fan, you'd have felt India made a rush of their effort when they resumed batting on the third day, 82 runs ahead. They lost five wickets for 49 runs, leaving Australia to first wipe off a deficit of 131 runs.

Aussie legend Shane Warne, from the commentary box, revealed that skipper Tim Paine had charted out the future course already in his mind.

Warne said Paine was confident that even if India leaves them a lead of 150, Australia's batting had the power to score 350 runs and make a match of it.

When they batted, Bumrah exposed a glaring weakness for the benefit of other bowlers on how Steve Smith can be tamed, Ravichandran Ashwin showed the hosts there could be several new variations to off spin bowling that their batsmen need to learn, Ravindra Jadeja gave a display of accurate bowling and Siraj exhibited how a debutant can turn incisive with encouraging support and advise from seniors.

There's little this Rahane-led side could do wrong when they step on the field on the fourth day.

As Siraj informed the media, their focus will be on not doing too much as the wicket has turned slow.

The last four Aussie wickets will get into the arena knowing that India's bowlers will bowl in specific areas, bowl lot of dot balls and build pressure, will  not give them easy balls to play, and will not do any trial runs with the tailenders.

The only option Paine's boys have is to bat like top order Test batsmen. 

Updated scorecard: Ind vs Aus, 2nd Test, Day 3

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