Melbourne: Stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane led India to a dominant eight-wicket win over Australia in the second Test Tuesday, levelling the series 1-1 and capping an extraordinary turnaround after their record collapse in the opening game.
Rahane, deputising during Virat Kohli's paternity leave, hit an unbeaten 27 in Melbourne - after a century in the first innings - as India reached the meagre target of 70 for the loss of two wickets.
It capped a remarkable comeback for an Indian team desperate to make amends after losing in Adelaide by eight wickets, when they posted their lowest ever score of 36 and were widely criticised at home.
And they bounced back without superstar and batting maintstay Kohli, who has returned home for the birth of his first child.
What a win this is, absolutely amazing effort by the whole team. Couldn't be happier for the boys and specially Jinks who led the team to victory amazingly. Onwards and upwards from here
— Virat Kohli (@imVkohli) December 29, 2020
A really special win at the MCG.
Great Determination and great character. Rahane led from the fron,the bowlers were terrific and Gill is chill. pic.twitter.com/X3UO8H2LgR
— Virender Sehwag (@virendersehwag) December 29, 2020
Among India’s finest wins ever. After the Adelaide debacle, this is a spectacular comeback considering that two of the best, Kohli and Shami were not available. Great spirit, fine teamwork, stellar performances cut Aussies down to size. Series has come alive!
— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) December 29, 2020
Perth ‘08, Headingley ‘02, Melbourne ‘81: away wins that India pulled off when few gave them a chance. Now they have won in Melbourne without 4 of their first-choice players against one of the best Australian attacks. A victory that will be spoken of for a long long time
— Siddhartha Vaidyanathan (@sidvee) December 29, 2020
A famous win for India at the MCG. To me, this win is on par with the Perth win of 2007/08. On both the occasions, the captains showed the way with brilliant tactics. Now with the series being squared, Ind well with a chance of repeating their 2018/19 heroics #DoddaMathu #AUSvIND
— ದೊಡ್ಡ ಗಣೇಶ್ | Dodda Ganesh (@doddaganesha) December 29, 2020
Lot of positives from this win. Rahane led the side brilliantly, bowlers were relentless but the biggest positive is the performance of two debutants. Both of them were confident and not overawed by the big occasion. Strength of Indian cricket is their strong bench strength.
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) December 29, 2020
Milestone win for India at MCG
— Firstpost Sports (@FirstpostSports) December 29, 2020
A win to remember. A win to cherish. Considering the Adelaide debacle and the quality of players unavailable for this game, it will go down as one of India’s finest wins overseas. Well done, Rahane and co. #AusvInd
— Aakash Chopra (@cricketaakash) December 29, 2020
And what a knock and captaincy from Rahane. Well deserved Man of the Match!
India captain Ajinkya Rahane has been adjudged as the Player of the Match after leading from the front in the second #AUSvIND Test
How impressed are you with his performance? pic.twitter.com/JV6FBVWAcS
— ICC (@ICC) December 29, 2020
'Australia's top order horribly exposed'
Stunning response from India after the 1st test, Australia’s top order have been horribly exposed, some tough decisions required. #AUSvIND
— Tom Moody (@TomMoodyCricket) December 29, 2020
Votes are in. Poor form followed by pressure bowling is the call Hard to value field and bowling changes but up there also. Catches also a contributor which generally go hand in hand with batting form. Warner inclusion and loss of Yadav for India tip the odds in Aus favour..
— Michael Bevan (@mbevan12) December 29, 2020
Great win for India and in front of cricket fans at that.
— Cricket Australia (@CricketAus) December 29, 2020
Better players and better Indian teams have earlier graced the field of play in cricket but never braver than the Brisbane Test lot and Ravi Shatri deserves a lot of credit for it.
Navdeep Saini said he risked aggravating his injury by bowling in the second innings of the Brisbane Test but given what was at stake, "it was a no brainer".
Brisbane showed that winning in the new-age world is possible with old-fashioned grace; that sometimes, no amount of words can do justice to the feeling you are left with after an exhausting grind of human will.