Indian off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin has revealed that stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane brought a sense of calm to the Indian dressing room following their horror show in the first Test in Adelaide.
Team India had a lead of 53 runs going into the second innings of the first Test at the Adelaide Oval. However, the Men in Blue were bundled out for just 36 runs on the morning of day three - their lowest-ever Test total.
An hour of poor batting cost the visitors a Test match that was in their grasp for the majority of the first two days. Adding to India's misery was the fact that Virat Kohli (paternity leave) and Mohammed Shami (fractured arm) were going to be unavailable for the rest of the series.
However, Rahane helped India believe that they could bounce back from the humiliating defeat and compete against a rampant Australian side.
The 32-year-old's brilliant batting and captaincy propelled India to an eight-wicket victory in the second Test at the MCG. While many stated that there was no way back for the depleted visitors, Ravichandran Ashwin explained to 7 Cricket how Rahane helped the side believe in themselves.
"Getting bowled out for 36 was never going to be easy. We are quite a proud cricketing country and losing Virat was a bit of a setback....but we stuck on really well. Jinks' calmness in the dressing room really provided us that stability to go out there and express ourselves in this game," Ravichandran Ashwin said.
To get Steve Smith out early is something that we have always worked on: Ravichandran Ashwin
One of the main reasons why India have been on top of the hosts for most of the Test series so far has been their ability to keep star batsman Steve Smith quiet.
The 31-year-old, who usually turns into an absolute beast while facing India, has managed to score only 10 runs from his four innings so far, giving him an average of 3.33.
Ravichandran Ashwin has been highly successful against the Aussie, having dismissed him twice already in the ongoing Border-Gavaskar Trophy. He stressed how important it was to keep a batsman of Smith's quality at bay.
"Coming down to Australia and if you cannot get Steven Smith out, it is always going to be an uphill task. To get him out early is something that we have always worked on. We put together plans and when those plans come together, it is a pleasure," Ravichandran Ashwin stated.
With the series level at 1-1, the challenge is only going to get tougher for both teams. While the hosts will be expecting David Warner to be back in the side and provide some solidity at the top of the order, the visitors are set to be bolstered by the presence of Rohit Sharma.
With both sides desperately trying to win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, the climax to this series promises to be an absolute humdinger.Published 29 Dec 2020, 14:30 IST