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Mission at Midnight: How to beat the Aussies

January 23, 2021 08:44 IST

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli returned home after the Adelaide Test to be present at the birth of his first child. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The Indian cricket team made a solid comeback by winning the Melbourne Test, which was planned at midnight.

Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, in a conversation with Fielding Coach R Sridhar, has revealed the behind-the-scenes work after the debacle in the Adelaide Test -- where India was bowled out for 36, its lowest Test score ever -- which triggered the comeback.

Sridhar said the most important thing for the counter-attack in the Test series was that India made sure they win the Melbourne Test.

For this, Captain Virat Kohli and Vice Captain Ajinkya Rahane drafted a plan along with Head Coach Ravi Shastri.

'It was around 12.30 am, the night we lost the Adelaide Test. Virat Kohli messaged me: "What are you doing?" I was shocked. I thought 'Why is he messaging at this time?"'

'I told him "Head coach (Ravi Shastri), myself, (bowling coach) Bharat Arun and )(batting coach) Vikram Rathour are sitting together." He said, "I'll also join you".'

'He came there and all of us started discussing. That's where 'Mission Melbourne' began. Shastri made a point there: "This 36, wear it like a badge! This 36 is what will make this team great",' Sridhar recalled.

Kohli was to leave for India the next day.

'We were slightly confused, but then we started talking about the decisions we'd have to take. Then Virat called Ajinkya the next morning and we had a very good discussion.'

'After a 36 all out, usually teams would strengthen their batting. But Ravi Shastri, Virat and Ajinkya decided to strengthen the bowling. That's how we replaced Virat with Ravindra Jadeja, and it was a masterstroke,' Sridhar said.

Ashwin revealed that the team indulged in fun activities to relieve stress after the Adelaide Test.

'We played dumb charades -- Bollywood movies, Hollywood movies and cricketers,' Ashwin added. 'The culmination of that event was Ravi Shastri enacting a player's name and the entire team burst out in laughter. Everyone left in good spirits.'

Rediff Cricket