Indian coach Ravi Shastri on Tuesday praised his team’s eight-wicket victory over Australia as one of the greatest comebacks of all time, praising their character after a landslide defeat in the first test last week. Despite missing out on superstar Virat Kohli, the Indians beat the hosts in Melbourne to silence their critics after being sacked for 36 in Adelaide on the way to an eight wicket defeat. “I think this will show up in the annals of Indian cricket, world cricket, as one of the great comebacks in the history of the game,” Shastri said after getting the series 1-1 right.
“To be rolled through 36 and three days later to get up and be ready to hit was excellent.
“I think the guys deserve all the credit for showing real character.”
India’s victory was built on a century of first innings by stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane on his way to 326 in response to Australia’s 195, with young rookie Shubman Gill also excelling at the bat.
But their bowling attack, minus Umesh Yadav who withdrew injured on Monday, also paid off, with a standout performance from Mohammed Siraj, another on debut.
Shastri said that both Siraj and Gill had a great future ahead.
“These two debutants showed maturity and flair and discipline and it was great to watch,” he said.
Today Siraj, his stakes were excellent. He may not have had the numbers to show for it, but the discipline and ability to cast long spells were excellent.
“Above all, they have shown a great character.”
Kohli, who watched at home in India before his wife gave birth to their first child, was equally impressed by what he saw.
“What a win this is, an absolutely tremendous effort from the whole team,” he tweeted.
“Couldn’t be happier for the guys and especially Jinks (Rahane) who amazingly led the team to victory.”
“Smart leader” Rahane
Shastri especially paid tribute to Rahane, who unlike Kohli is a less flamboyant captain, but just as effective.
“He’s a very smart leader, he has a great understanding of the game, he can read the game well,” he said.
“And I thought his calmness right there in the middle helped the rookies and I think it helped the bowlers too. It was a calming influence.”
Despite winning, India will enter the third Test next week with selection dilemmas.
Shastri said they were keeping an eye on Yadav but would stick with their five-bowler strategy, including the all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja for Melbourne.
They also have key batsman Rohit Sharma out of mandatory quarantine and ready to join the team after recovering from a hamstring injury.
“We’ll stick to five bowlers,” said Shastri.
“At Rohit he will join the team tomorrow so we will talk to him to see where he has been physically placed as he has been in quarantine for the past few weeks.
“We also need to see how he feels before we call.”
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