Jasprit Bumrah’s menace was matched by Ravichandran Ashwin’s guile as an inspired India led by Ajinkya Rahane shot out Australia for a sub-par 195 to dominate the opening day of the second Test here on Saturday.
India then lost an out-of-form Mayank Agarwal (0) to Mitchell Starc but debutant Shubman Gill (28 batting) survived a hostile spell to hit some delectable boundaries in the day end score of 36 for 1 in 11 overs.
Giving him company was the seasoned Cheteshwar Pujara (7 batting). The line-up would look to exorcise the ghosts of the opening Adelaide game last week when India were shot out for their lowest ever Test score of 36.
“Not being reckless but playing with confidence will be the motive going forward,” said Bumrah at the end of day’s play, spelling out the team’s plan.
As much as the day belonged to the Indian bowling unit for another fired-up show, new captain Rahane deserved equal credit for marshalling his resources to perfection during the 72.3 overs that Australia batted.
Bumrah (4/56 in 16 overs) and Ashwin (3/35 in 24 overs) were the stars but debutant Mohammed Siraj (2/40 in 15 overs) also did his bit repaying the faith shown in him with wickets of Marnus Labuschagne (48) and Cameron Green (12) with the old ball.
However, the Test series is increasingly looking like Ashwin’s paradise as he once again made the opposition’s best batsman Steve Smith (0) look ordinary, exploiting the turn and bounce that the first day of the MCG track offered.
It was business as usual for Bumrah as he beat the bat and got those breakthroughs just when it mattered on a pitch that had retained moisture. As it turned out, Rahane didn’t lose a bad toss.