After India’s five-bowler plan worked perfectly for the team in the MCG Test, Ravi Shastri has stated that the side will stick to the same idea in the third Test as well. The coach has also heaped praise on Ajinkya Rahane for the way he batted after leading the side brilliantly earlier.
India secured a historic Test win against Australia in Melbourne and considering the backdrop and the circumstances, this is touted as one of the best Indian wins of all-time. Especially without the absence of much-vaunted pacers and the talismanic skipper in their arsenal, it was quite something. At the heart of it lies India’s punt of playing five bowlers which reaped dividends as the team never felt the absence of Umesh Yadav, who limped off after bowling three overs in the second innings.
Speaking after the victory, head coach Ravi Shastri confirmed that the side will stick to the same strategy come the third Test.
“We will stick to the five bowler strategy. We had a lot of positives in Adelaide. But then at the end of the day, it is the results that speak. We were blown away in the second innings in that one hour. There was nothing you could do but get up and fight. Which we did in the second Test. We want to beat Australia in Australia. There was no point in having one good day or two good days if you don’t win,” Shastri said in the post-match press conference in Melbourne.
India will have Rohit Sharma in the side for the third Test as the Mumbaikar is set to join the team in Melbourne after completing his quarantine in Sydney today. It has not been decided yet if Sydney or MCG will host the third Test, and a clarification is expected anytime soon. Shastri claimed that Rohit's involvement in the series will depend on how he feels about himself and his body.
“About Rohit, he joins the team tomorrow. We will chat with him about his match fitness. Because he is in Quarantine for the last couple of weeks. We want to see how he fits in before taking the call.”
For India, Rishabh Pant and Shubman Gill were pretty attacking in their approach and scored boundaries for fun. Pant’s first innings 29 helped India wrest the momentum back in their favour and Gill played a counter-attacking innings to guide the side to victory in the second dig to go with his first innings 45. Shastri was very happy for the duo.
“For someone playing his first Test match, Gill looked very calm and composed. He wasn’t afraid to play his shots. Especially in the second innings, he went out there and played his natural game which is great from a team point of view.
“I thought he (Pant) was very, very good in this game. Any batsman can make a mistake. I thought the discipline he showed in the runs he made was great. His ability to counterattack and play some shots and move the game forward is a huge plus for the team. And he showed it in this game. He might have scored 29, but there was a lot more than 29 there.”
The coach was extremely pleased by the way Ajinkya Rahane took on the challenge of leading India in the absence of Virat Kohli and then playing a match-winning knock at No.4. Shastri was amazed by the concentration shown by the veteran.
“The discipline Ajinkya Rahane showed on such a pitch in this massive arena was great. Captaining the side, batting at No.4 and showing this maturity was terrific. Batted for six hours and that was unbelievable concentration.”