Melbourne [Australia], December 29 (ANI): India coach Ravi Shastri made it clear after the thrilling win that stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane's valiant knock in the first innings was the turning point in the Boxing Day Test.
Rahane's 12th century in the longest format of the game and Ravindra Jadeja's well-made fifty gave India firm control in the second Test. It was a Test master-class from Rahane as he played the first two sessions cautiously and then unleashed his true class after the tea on Sunday.
If one session had cost India the first Test, it was again a session -- which Rahane and Jadeja weathered on day two -- that saw the visitors bag the second game.
Shastri was in awe of Rahane's leadership skills and heaped praises on the batsman for his "unbelievable" knock in the first innings.
"I think it (the turning point of the match) was the innings of Ajinkya Rahane. The discipline on such a big stage in a massive arena to come as a captain of the Indian team bat at number four. When he went in to bat we were two down for 60 and then he batted for six probably on the toughest day for batting in the overcast conditions, unbelievable and I thought that was the turning point. His innings were the turning points," said Shastri while replying to a query from ANI.
Shubman Gill and Mohammad Siraj had replaced under-fire Prithvi Shaw and injured Mohammad Shami respectively in the second Test. While Gill impressed everyone with his batting in both the innings Siraj hogged the limelight on Tuesday after his fiery bouncers helped India fold Australia for 200 before chasing 70.
Shastri said Gill and Siraj displayed a sheer amount of maturity and hailed the right-handed pacer for bagging two wickets in the first session on Tuesday.
"That's the brand of cricket we've been playing for three-four years. The two debutants showed great maturity and discipline," said Shastri
"Today Siraj's effort was outstanding. The maturity he showed for someone playing his first Test was outstanding," he added.
India defeated Australia by eight wickets to level the four-match Test series 1-1. The win also ensures India moves a step closer to the final of the World Test Championship. (ANI)