India head coach Ravi Shastri is a happy man. The former India cricketer said India’s 8-wicket triumph in the Boxing Day Test against Australia on Tuesday will be regarded as one of the “greatest” comebacks wins in the annals of world cricket.
When asked what was the chat in the dressing room after India were bundled out for 36 in Adelaide, Ravi Shastri replied in his inimitable own style.
“No chat. When we came to Melbourne, we just said stand up and fight.”
Shastri said the memorable win over Australia that helped the visitors level the series after the Adelaide horror is a “New Year’s” gift to millions of India fans who backed the team even after they slipped to their lowest Test total of 36 a week ago in the series opener.
The head coach, who was also under considerable pressure after the 1st Test thrashing, gave full credit to Ajinkya Rahane and his team, saying the “boys showed tremendous composure” under pressure to win the Boxing Day Test.
“It’s a great present from the team to millions of supporters to have a very happy new year. This will go down in the annals of Indian and world cricket as one of the greatest comebacks. From being 36 all out to coming back in three days, the boys showed great composure,” Shashtri told the press on Tuesday.
“We were blown away in Adelaide. When you’re blown away, you’re blown away. Against a team like Australia, you have to be good for 5 days, no point being good for just 1 or 2.”
India played 2 debutants in Mohammed Siraj and Shubman Gill and made as many as 4 changes after Virat Kohli headed back home on paternity leave. India lost Mohammed Shami to a fracture he had suffered in the Adelaide defeat.
Ravi Shastri lauds debutants Siraj and Gill
Ajinkya Rahane, who stepped in as the stand-in captain, was under pressure as well as he had failed with the bat in both the innings of the Adelaide Test. India were written off after the crushing defeat but Rahane led the team from the front to help the visitors script a terrific win at MCG.
Rahane hit a match-winning hundred and was tactically brilliant with his bowling changes and field setting. Under his leadership, both debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed SIraj stepped up, making crucial contributions along with the senior members of the likes of R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah and Ravindra Jadeja.
Ravi Shastri had a word of praise for the two debutatnts. Gill scored 45 in the first innings and followed it up with an unbeaten 35 in the second innings. Siraj picked up 5 wickets, becoming the first visiting bowler since Lasith Malinga in 2004 to pick 5 or more on Test debut in Australia.
“That’s the brand of cricket we’ve been playing for 3-4 years. The 2 debutants showed great maturity and discipline. Today Siraj’s effort was outstanding. The maturity he showed for someone playing his first Test was outstanding,” Shastri said.