Sydney: The ever-inquisitive Ravichandran Ashwin, who has a knack for learning new things, and much-improved batsman Ravindra Jadeja have stood out for India in the first two Tests against Australia, skipper Ajinkya Rahane said on Wednesday.
While Ashwin is currently leading the wicket-takers' chart with 10 scalps, Jadeja's half-century and the hundred-plus stand with skipper Rahane in the second Test formed the cornerstone of India's eight-wicket win in Melbourne.
Asked about the hallmark of Ashwin's greatness, Rahane said, "He is always looking to learn new things. He has good skills but is always looking to learn new things, and that's what makes Ashwin great."
The captain couldn't be happier with the Tamil Nadu tweaker's success.
"I hope that he continues for next two Test matches and does the job for us," said Rahane.
If Ashwin's improvisation has impressed Rahane, he is mighty pleased with Jadeja's Test match application which adds the necessary balance the team has often lacked.
"As a batsman, Ravindra Jadeja has improved a lot and that is a massive point as a team's perspective," Rahane said.
"When you know that your number seven can contribute with the bat, that becomes really easy for you to actually get that (decent) total and obviously in the field, you have seen him taking some brilliant catches.
"So yes his addition in the team helped us a lot and he has been really fantastic and it is really great for us," he said.
Happy with Rohit Sharma's addition to the playing XI, the skipper informed that his deputy has had some seven to eight net sessions as he gears up for his first Test in 13 months.
"He is batting really well in the nets. He has had good seven-eight sessions. He came to Melbourne, started his practise straight away when our Test match got over," Rahane said making it clear that Rohit will open the innings.
The skipper indicated that the SCG track looks to be a good one for batting.
"See, as per history of Sydney, it is a very good wicket, very good wicket, so you just have to play some good cricket."
The SCG wicket aids spinners and that's why Rahane doesn't want his team to take chances while facing Nathan Lyon.
"Yes, we have good spinners but Nathan Lyon is their quality spinner, who has done well here, so we don't want to take anybody lightly," he said.
While signing off, Rahane with a note of caution reminded one and all that Melbourne is history now. "As I said earlier, whatever happened in Melbourne it is history now. Australia is a very good team, especially when playing in Australia. They are a dangerous team and we respect that. We just want to be in the moment and start well tomorrow."
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Australia skipper Tim Paine rued the dropped chances for which he had only himself to blame. He dropped Pant twice and Vihari once.
Jadeja had sustained a thumb injury while batting in the first innings of the Sydney Test and was eventually ruled out for six weeks, leading to him getting ruled out of the England Test series.
Amid all the adversities, India have stood strong and the grit and resilience they displayed on the final day of the Sydney Test was a testament to their mental strength and how far they have come from that Adelaide capitulation.