India vs Australia: Ashwin, Pujara and other players that shone
The second Test of the ongoing India vs Australia series was something else as four days of relentless action ended with India levelling the series 1-1 via a thrilling 75 run victory which had viewers hooked.
While India edged the tie, there were star performers on either side, but who are they and what kind of contributions did they make? Read on:
KL Rahul (90, 51)
It takes a special innings to be declared man of the match in a Test that was dominated by bowlers, but KL Rahul had two priceless innings which ensured India put up respectable totals on the board. To put things into perspective, Rahul’s 90 accounted for almost half the entire Indian team’s first inning. The young opener full deserved his man of the match award in a series in which he seems to be coming of age.
Nathan Lyon (8-50)
Lyon’s remarkable spell accounted for four of India’s five top batsmen, including the prized scalps of Nair and Indian skipper Virat Kohli. The Kohli dismissal, in particular, was a hot topic of discussion as Kohli let the ball run onto his pads instead of attempting a stroke and any bowler who can deceive the world’s finest batsman like that deserves a gong. He then proceeded to finish India’s notoriously stubborn tail to give his teammates a solid chance of doubling their lead in the series.
Ravindra Jadeja ( 6-41)
In home conditions, all-rounder Jadeja has no equals apart from Ravi Ashwin perhaps. His deceptive balls got rid of well-set opener Matt Renshaw and Australian skipper Steve Smith to give the hosts a vital breakthrough
Cheteshwar Pujara (17, 92)
After disappointing in the first innings, Pujara made amends spectacularly in the second, falling agonisingly short of a ton which would have been just reward for his toil. His partnerships with Rahul and Rahane (52) in the second innings broke the Australian’s back and were pivotal in providing a total which the Indian bowlers could defend without too much pressure.
Josh Hazlewood (6-67)
While Mitchell Starc’s salvo slowed the Indian second innings to a half, Hazlewood almost single-handedly pulled the hand-brake with his blistering display of pace bowling. Removing Abhinav Mukund Pujara, Kohli, Jadeja before cleaning up the Indian tail, Hazlewood was on fire and it was a pity that his side couldn't take advantage of his heroics with the new ball.
Ravichandran Ashwin (6-41)
The gangly off-spinner Ashwin is widely regarded as the finest bowler in the game today and proved the hype around him is justified with a stellar display that left the Australian batsmen twisting and turning but unable to defend his deliveries. David Warner was the first victim, but when Peter Handscomb, Mitchell Marsha and Matthew Wade fell in quick succession, India smelt blood and they went Ashwin went straight for the jugular. Purely on the basis of his second innings spell, he was a contender for the man of the match.