India’s brilliant show on the first day of the second Test between India and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Saturday has garnered attention of the Australian great Ricky Ponting. Ponting was all praises for the the Indian team’s leader, Ajinkya Rahane as India limited the hosts at 195 runs, dismissing all the 10 wickets.
Ponting said that it was all thanks to Rahane’s impeccable leadership skills that brought out such satisfying results for the team.
Heaping praises for Rahane, Ponting said, “(Rahane’s captaincy) has been brilliant so far. We were all a bit worried about how they were going to pick themselves up after Adelaide. I think they looked potentially better today.”
Ponting accredited India’s fantastic display of game today to Rahane’s insightful captaincy. He praised his fielding placements and bowling changes that turned the table for them. Moreover, he pointed out that the utilization of the ‘underused’ fielding positions helped the Indian bowlers have their way throughout the game.
“Rahane’s field placements, bowling changes have all been pretty much spot on. With captaincy, making bowling changes, and changing the field, you need guys to be able to execute well. Some of the wickets they got today, even Smith at leg slip early on, I think that was a set plan.
“I think there’s been a lot of planning that’s gone into it and Rahane should take a lot of credit for that,” added an impressed Ponting.
Rahane ensured he did not let the void left by skipper Virat Kohli adversely affect the team’s performance in any way. Taking lead, despite losing the toss and been left with the option to bowl first, he led the team to take the upper hand in the first innings. Employing a tactical fielding strategy and aid from the bowlers, they easily dismissed the players with the likes of Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne, and Tim Paine.
Jasprit Bumrah and spinner R Ashwin cumulatively picked up seven wickets, while debutant Siraj picked up 2 wickets for the team, aiding in the mission of bundling the Aussies without giving many runs.
A great support from the batsmen, especially debutant Shubham Gill, despite the loss of their opener, Mayank Agarwal, the Indian team ended the day at 36/1.