AUS vs IND: Ajinkya Rahane’s savvy captain grabs spotlight as India hits Australia for 195 on Day 1 of Boxing Day

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After the Indian team was pushed to the wall following a humble defeat in the series opener, the Indian team bounced back and dominated the opening day of the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) on Saturday. Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane lost the toss, but the Indian bowlers were at number all day, confining the hosts for 195 all-out on one of the most batting-friendly tracks in Australia. While the bowlers deserve all the credit for their hard work, the Indian skipper, who rallied his troops with great authority, deserves just as much credit. During the day, Rahane attacked with close-in fielders and made some wise bowling changes that worked wonders for the team.

Former Indian opener Virender Sehwag was one of many to praise Rahane’s leadership skills and his bend changes and “smart field placements”. On Twitter, Sehwag also praised the bowlers for the job well done on Day 1 and giving India a solid start.

Excellent bowling changes and really smart field placements from Rahane. And the bowlers delivered. Ashwin, Bumrah and Siraj were absolutely brilliant. Great effort to get Australia on day one for 195. Now for the batters to get a good first innings lead #AUSvIND, ”Sehwag tweeted.

VVS Laxman praised the “sensational” Indian bowlers and Rahane’s captaincy. The Indian players took all the scars of their defeat in the first Test and played positive cricket all day long and Laxman was happy to see that players were not carrying any baggage from the Adelaide debacle.

“Excellent days playing for India. Bowlers were once again sensational, both debutants looked confident, Rahane led the squad very well, but most importantly, they didn’t carry the baggage of Adelaide’s loss. #INDvAUS,” Laxman wrote on Twitter .

Spider bowling Shane Warne also praised Rahane for leading his team well in Virat Kohli’s absence. The former leg spinner also congratulated the MCG ground crew for preparing one of the best wickets at the venue for a long time.

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“What a great day of cricket at the MCG today. Congratulations to the ground crew for preparing the best wicket in the MCG for a long time. More pitches like this please! The Indian bowlers were also excellent and very well led by
@ ajinkyarahane88! Can India club all day long? Warne tweeted.

Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin were the bowlers’ choice for the visitors as they returned with four and three wickets respectively. Mohammed Siraj also impressed on his Test debut, returning with two wickets for all his hard work.

India finished Day 1 at 36/1, with Shubman Gill unbeaten on 28 and Cheteshwar Pujara on seven, behind Australia with 159 runs.

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