Former India opener Sunil Gavaskar has opined that the second day of the Sydney Test turned out to be a very good one for India, as they restricted Australia to a reasonable total when the hosts looked good for more.
The third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy is now tantalisingly poised, as India reached 96/2 at stumps on Day 2 in response to Australia's first-innings total of 338.
While reviewing the day's proceedings on the Sony Sports network, Sunil Gavaskar observed that India did a great job in pulling Australia back from a position of strength, which they were in at the end of Day 1.
The former opener mentioned that the hosts had got off to a good start on the first day and had two batsmen with a penchant for scoring big runs at the crease.
"It was a very good day for India. When the first day's play had ended, Australia had lost only two wickets and had scored 166 runs. And two such batsmen were batting who had not scored runs in the first two matches, and we know about them that they are very run-hungry batsmen, and when they get set, the talk is about 150-200 runs from them," said Sunil Gavaskar.
Sunil Gavaskar said that he was worried that Australia would post a mammoth score in the first innings, but that was not to be. For that, he lauded the Indian bowlers, especially Ravindra Jadeja, for keeping the Australian total within manageable proportions.
"So, there was a little fear that if we didn't get a few wickets in the first one hour, the Indian team will have to field till 400-450 runs. The way the bowlers bowled, the way Jadeja was used by Rahane today, he was given only three overs on the first day, the way the bowling changes were done, because of that only they were able to restrict Australia to 338," observed Sunil Gavaskar.
"Ajinkya Rahane will have to take some initiative tomorrow" - Sunil Gavaskar
Zaheer Khan observed that when Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma were playing, the wicket seemed very different from what it looked like once they got out. In that context, he asked Sunil Gavaskar how he wants India to approach the third day's play.
The former Indian opener responded that Ajinkya Rahane will have to bat a little more aggressively, as Cheteshwar Pujara is likely to take his time to score runs.
"Ajinkya Rahane will have to play more shots tomorrow because everyone knows the limitations of Cheteshwar Pujara. He can stay at the wicket and when the balls come on his pads, he can play the flicks and score runs or play the odd cut shot. But he does not take the initiative that is required to be taken. And because of that, at times the team gets bogged down," stated Sunil Gavaskar.
Sunil Gavaskar signed off by saying that Pujara's inability to rotate the strike might have resulted in Shubman Gill's wicket. He hopes Rahane will keep the scoreboard ticking so that there is no undue pressure on the Indian batting lineup.
"When he [Pujara] came to bat after Rohit's dismissal, it seemed like Shubman Gill did not get the strike for two-three overs. And because of that probably Shubman got a little impatient and played away from the body and got out. So, Ajinkya Rahane will have to take some initiative tomorrow in terms of scoring," concluded Sunil Gavaskar.
The Indian bowlers certainly did a commendable job by bowling out Australia for 338 runs after the hosts were going strong at 206/2. With the match evenly poised at the moment, the third day's play, especially the first session, could hold the key to the outcome of an intriguing encounter.Published 08 Jan 2021, 16:43 IST