Despite scoring a match-winning hundred himself, India's stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane heaped praise on debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj for their impressive performances against Australia in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
India bounced back emphatically from the Adelaide debacle, the absence of Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami and an injury to Umesh Yadav to draw level in the four-match series, thanks to the exploits of Gill and Siraj.
Man of the Match Ajinkya Rahane, who scored 112 and 27*, said that first-class cricket helped the two debutants transition seamlessly to the international stage, saying in this regard:
"I feel first-class cricket is very handy for guys; when they play first-class cricket for 4-5 years and they come here, they know what to do."
Gill has an excellent first-class record, and he certainly impressed in the two innings he played in Melbourne. With scores of 45 and 35*, the youngster has made a strong case to play the next Test.
Mohammed Siraj was also impressive, picking up five wickets in the game.
In the post-match presentation ceremony, Ajinkya Rahane explained how the performances of the two debutants played a key role in the team's win.
"I want to give credit to the debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj. Shubman, we all know his first-class career. Even in this game, he showed the intent that he can play shots at this level and at the same time bat with composure as well. Siraj, he bowled with a lot of discipline," said Ajinkya Rahane.
Character was really important going into this Test match: Ajinkya Rahane
Ajinkya Rahane said that his men showed great character at the MCG, especially after Umesh Yadav pulled a calf muscle in the second innings, to bounce back from the humbling defeat at the Adelaide Oval in the first Test.
The stand-in captain said in this regard:
"I thought for us character was really important going into this Test match, and unfortunately we lost Umesh Yadav in the second innings. But the way everyone played was really magnificent. The talk was all about showing that attitude and intent on the field, and as I said, character matters a lot. Adelaide as I said, that one hour took the game away from us, Australia played really well."
The third Test between India and Australia will be played on January 7. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Sydney, the third Test might be played at the MCG itself. With the series now level at 1-1, the visitors will look to continue their winning momentum and retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.Published 29 Dec 2020, 11:25 IST