After the Adelaide debacle, where they were bundled out for their lowest Test score of 36, India bounced back emphatically against Australia to clinch the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne by eight wickets and restore parity in the four-match series.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane, who hit a magnificent century in the first innings, fittingly hit the winning runs to help India register their first Test win in 2020. Earlier in the year, India lost both Tests in New Zealand before succumbing to Australia in the first Test in Melbourne.
India’s win in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne was a complete team effort.
Jasprit Bumrah (4 for 56) and Ravichandran Ashwin (3 for 35) combined to restrict Australia to 195 in the first innings. In response, Rahane’s century and Ravindra Jadeja’s fifty helped India take a crucial 131-run first-innings lead.
Debutant Mohammed Siraj then starred with 3 for 37 in the second innings to bowl out Australia for exactly 200 before Rahane and Gill ensured India's second consecutive win in as many Tests at the MCG.
The Boxing Day Test match also saw some interesting records. Let's have a look at a few of them.
Seven interesting records from the India-Australia Boxing Day Test 2020
After winning on their last visit to the iconic MCG two years ago, the visitors made it two out of two with a fabulous series-levelling victory.
The win in Melbourne was sweeter this time around, as India were without four first-team regulars and were also hindered by an injury to Umesh Yadav in the second innings.
Nevertheless, the visitors proved too strong for Australia, thanks to an impressive team performance led by Man-of-the-match Ajinkya Rahane.
Without further ado, let's have a look at the seven most interesting stats from India's fabulous win at the MCG.
#1 India's fourth Test win in Melbourne is their most at an overseas venue
India’s latest Boxing Day Test win was a historic one. Their fourth triumph at the MCG is now the visitors' most at an overseas venue.
Coming into the second Test at the MCG, India had three wins apiece at Port of Spain, Sabina Park, Colombo and Melbourne. India’s three Test wins in Melbourne were in 1977, 1981 and 2018.
#2 Australia fail to score 200 runs for the first time this century despite batting for 100 overs
The second Test in Melbourne marked the first instance this century when Australia failed to score 200 runs in a Test match despite batting for 100 overs.
Australia were 196-9 at the 100-over mark and were eventually bowled out for 200 in 103.1 overs, scoring at a run rate of 1.94. Earlier in the game, the hosts scored only 195 in their first innings.
#3 For the first time in over three decades, no Australian player scored a fifty in a home Test
For the first time since 1988, Australia have had a home Test without any batsman making a half-century.
Marnus Labuschagne’s 48 on the opening day of the Boxing Day Test was the highest score by an Australian batsman in the game while Cameron Green (45) was the top-scorer for the hosts in the second innings.
The last such instance for Australia was against West Indies, which was also at the MCG 32 years ago.
#4 Jasprit Bumrah equals Kumble’s record for the most wickets by an Indian bowler at the MCG
With six wickets in the Boxing Day Test, India’s pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah has equalled former leg-spinner Anil Kumble’s record of most wickets (15) by an Indian bowler at the MCG.
While Kumble claimed 15 wickets in three Tests at the MCG, doing so at an average of 37, Bumrah has the same number of scalps in two matches and with a far better average of 13.06.
#5 Steve Smith scores a duck for the first time in the first innings of a Test match
Prolific Australian batsman Steve Smith was dismissed without scoring in the first innings of the Boxing Day Test by Ravichandran Ashwin. In the process, it marked the first instance of Smith getting dismissed without scoring in the first innings of a Test match.
Interestingly, it was Smith's first duck against India in Tests and the batsman’s first Test score of zero in four years.
Smith was last dismissed without scoring in the longest format of the game against South Africa in Perth in November 2016.
#6 Mohammed Siraj makes a memorable Test debut at the MCG
India’s pace bowler Mohammed Siraj had a memorable debut at the MCG. With five wickets in the Test match (2 for 40 and 3 for 37), he became the first visiting bowler since Lasith Malinga in 2004 to five up five wickets in their debut Test in Australia.
Siraj is only the fourth visiting bowler in the last 50 years to claim five or more wickets on Test debut in Australia. England’s Phil DeFreitas and Alex Tudor are the two other bowlers in the elite list.
#7 Ajinkya Rahane emulates MS Dhoni as the only Indian captain to win his first three Tests
Following the triumph in the Boxing Day Test, Ajinkya Rahane has emulated MS Dhoni as the only Indian captains to win their first three Tests.
Rahane’s two earlier Test triumphs as captain came in Dharamsala against Australia (2016/17) and in Bengaluru against Afghanistan (2018).Published 29 Dec 2020, 12:42 IST