The Indian cricket team defeated Australia by eight wickets in the second Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to level the four-match series 1-1.
After restricting Australia's second innings to just 200 runs in the extended opening session of Day 4, Indian debutant Shubman Gill (35) and stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane (27) chased down the 70-run target in 15.5 overs to record a win for the ages.
Leader Rahane guides India to series-levelling victory
The India cricket team scripted a historic win under skipper Ajinkya Rahane whose inspirational first-innings knock of 112 - helped the visitors take a healthy 131-run lead - backed up by an assuring and unbeaten 27 runs in the second innings as India levelled the series 1-1.
The captain’s innings helped Rahane become the first recipient of the prestigious Mullagh Medal after he was adjudged the Player of the match in the Boxing Day Test.
The medal is named after Johnny Mullagh, the first aboriginal cricketer to have been inducted into the Australian cricket Hall of Fame. Cricket Australia had earlier announced that the best player of the Melbourne Test match will receive the Mullagh Medal.
Interestingly, this was Rahane’s 12th Test hundred, which made him the 10th visiting captain with a century at the iconic MCG. The 32-year-old also became just the second Indian captain to be on the list after legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
|Visiting captains scoring century at MCG
|Arthur Shrewsbury (ENG)||105*||2||21 March 1885|
|Andrew Stoddart (ENG)||173||3||29 December 1894|
|Peter May (ENG)||113||1||31 December 1958|
|Hanif Mohammad (PAK)||104||1||04 December 1964|
|Mike Denness (ENG)||188||2||08 February 1975|
|Clive Lloyd (WI)||102||3||26 December 1975|
|Alec Stewart (ENG)||107||1||26 December 1998|
|Sachin Tendulkar (IND)||116||2||26 December 1999|
|Mohammad Yousuf (PAK)||111||1||26 December 2004|
|Ajinkya Rahane (IND)||100*||2||26 December 2020|
Mohammed Siraj impresses on Test debut
Pacer Mohammed Siraj became the first debutant for India in seven years to pick five wickets in a Test match. He finished the second Test match at the MCG with a haul of five wickets for 77 runs in 36.3 overs. This is the fifth-best figures for an Indian fast bowler on debut Test overseas.
|Best match figures on Test debut for Indian pacer outside India|
|Syed Abid Ali||33.0||116||7||v Australia||Adelaide||23 December 1967|
|Praveen Kumar||34.0||80||6||v West Indies||Kingston||20 June 2011|
|Venkatesh Prasad||42.0||121||6||v England||Birmingham||06 June 1996|
|Mohammad Nissar||44.0||135||6||v England||Lord's||25 June 1932|
|Mohammed Siraj||36.3||77||5||v Australia||Melbourne||26 December 2020|
India’s eight Test victory on Australian soil
Team India's eight-wicket win in the second Test at the MCG was only the eighth time in 50 Test matches that they have beaten Australia Down Under. Half of these wins -- four--have come at the MCG. India have previously won one in Perth (2008), one in Sydney (1978) and two in Adelaide (2003 and 2018).
|India's win in Australia
|222 runs||1st||Melbourne||30 December 1977|
|Innings and 2 runs||2nd||Sydney||07 January 1978|
|59 runs||1st||Melbourne||07 February 1981|
|4 wickets||2nd||Adelaide||12 December 2003|
|72 runs||1st||Perth||16 January 2008|
|31 runs||1st||Adelaide||06 December 2018|
|137 runs||1st||Melbourne||26 December 2018|
|8 wickets||2nd||Melbourne||26 December 2020|
Additionally, with the historic win, Melbourne Cricket Ground now becomes India’s most successful overseas venue in the longest format of the game.
On the other hand, Australia captain Tim Paine became the fastest wicket-keeper to reach 150 dismissals in Test cricket. The Australian skipper achieved the feat in just 33 Test matches, breaking the record of South Africa’s Quinton de Kock, who had registered 150 dismissals in 34 matches.
Furthermore, pacer Mitchell Starc became the fifth-fastest Australian bowler to take 250 wickets in the longest format. The left-arm fast bowler took 59 Test matches to reach the milestone with Australia legend Dennis Lillee topping the chart having claimed 250 wickets in just 48 games.
Feature image courtesy: WILLIAM WEST / AFP