India has all the reasons to feel good about the outcome on Day-One of the second Test on Boxing Day against Australia, at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, on Saturday. The fielding, bowling and most importantly the field setting have been outstanding, and it has been the stand-in skipper Ajankya Rahane who has been the mastermind behind the day’s proceedings.
When stumps were drawn on Day-One after bundling out Australia for 195 were 36 for one in their first essay.
Former stars hailed his effective bowling changes that put the visitors in a dominating position in the second Test against Australia, here on Saturday.
The Mumbai player’s marshalling has been a talk of the day, and Sunil Gavaskar has been one among the pundits who have praised his city mate Rahane, while commenting on the days' proceedings with the Sony Networks, after the match.
The little master cautiously praised Rahane and said, "Importantly, let’s not jump to conclusions too quickly. If I say that his captaincy is outstanding, then again, I will be accused of backing a Mumbai boy and all kinds of things will happen. So I don’t want to get into that because these are early days."
Ajinkya Rahane impressed one and all with his captaincy, making some moves very different from that of Virat Kohli's. His plan to bring off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin as early as the 11th over proved to be a masterstroke as the experienced tweaker opened floodgates. Matthew Wade was first to fall in the trap of Ashwin before the big fish Steve Smith was hunted.
The dismissals of Smith (caught by Cheteshwar Pujara at leg gully) and Marnus Labuschagne (caught by Shubman Gill at backward square leg) was a fine proof of it. Sunil Gavaksar praised the 32-year-old Mumbaikar for the same, as it was witnessed Rahane's field placing which was pinpoint-accurate.
"From what I have seen in the last Two Tests he captained and the one-day matches he captained, he has got a great sense of where the fielders should be kept. Having said that, the bowlers need to bowl to their field. If the bowlers bowl to the field, as they did today, then the captain looks very good," said Gavaskar.
Gavaskar reckoned that India's success on Day 1 should not only be credited to the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane, as Jasprit Bumrah, Ravichandran Ashwin and debutant Mohammed Siraj especially, made a good attack force for the visitors.
"It’s important for India to look beyond the fact that it’s only Ajinkya Rahane’s captaincy. It’s the way Ashwin bowled, it’s the way Bumrah bowled, it’s the way Siraj made his debut. I mean imagine, being a new-ball bowlers, and you don’t get to bowl a single delivery before the second session. Only in the second session, you get to bowl in the 27th over but he showed great spirit in the way he came and bowled”.
And after being thrashed in the first Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Team India has exhibited that they are as a team, and ready to put back all that happened in the past and looking forward with a positive frame of mind.
With 11 wickets fallen and 231 runs scored in the 82.3 overs, the MCG Test also looks would not last five days.