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Report Card: How India fared in MCG Test

By Harish Kotian
December 31, 2018 08:13 IST
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Harish Kotian evaluates Indian performances in the third Test.

Jasprit Bumrah

IMAGE: Jasprit Bumrah picked up 9 wickets in the match to fire India to victory in the Melbourne Test. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

After their forgettable performance in the second Test in Perth, India bounced back with a superb victory in Melbourne.

A rampaging India demolished Australia by 137 runs in the third Test to take an unassailable 2-1 series lead in the four-match series.

It was young Bumrah who shattered Australia's hopes as he picked up 9 wickets in the game.

Cheteshwar Pujara continued to defy the Aussies with another gritty century while Captain Virat Kohli maintained his golden run with the bat.

Mayank Agarwal shone on his debut as India proved to be unstoppable at the MCG.

A look at how the Indian players fared in the MCG Test:

Jasprit Bumrah 10/10

Bumrah proved too hot to handle for Australia.

India had scored a healthy 443/7 in the first innings on a pitch offering some uneven bounce before Bumrah sent the Aussies crashing for a lowly 151, to give India a decisive lead of 292 runs.

Bumrah's first innings haul of 6/33 was the best ever recorded by an Indian bowler at the MCG.

He removed all four of Australia's batsmen who made starts and cleaned up the last three wickets for 6 runs shortly after tea.

The highlight of Bumrah's destructive spell was the ball with which he deceived Shaun Marsh -- a slower ball that cannoned into his pads on the full to trap him leg before wicket on the stroke of tea.

In the second innings, the Gujarat and Mumbai Indians pacer was again India's best bowler as he took 3 wickets to fire India to a convincing win.

 

Cheteshwar Pujara 9/10

IMAGE: Cheteshwar Pujara is the leading scorer in the series with 328 runs in three games, inclusive of two hundreds. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Bumrah may have grabbed the headlines, but one can't ignore Pujara's telling contribution with the bat in the MCG Test.

He once again kept the Australian bowlers at bay with a century in the first innings, putting on useful partnerships with Mayank Agarwal and Virat Kohli.

Pujara's dogged 106 was instrumental in guiding India to a healthy first innings total on a pitch getting increasingly difficult for batting.

 

Virat Kohli 8/10

Kohli's golden run continued as he made a patient 82 from 204 balls.

He battled hard on Day 1 as Australia's bowlers kept things tight to ensure India didn't lose wickets and give away the initiative.

He missed out on a deserved century as he perished in the team's cause in his attempt to score some quick runs.

His captaincy skills were also fantastic, his tactics of using his pacers in short bursts made an impact as they never took their feet off the pedal.

 

Mayank Agarwal 8/10

Mayank Agarwal

IMAGE: Mayank Agarwal made a perfect start to his Test career with a half-century on debut at the MCG. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Agarwal was handed an unlikely debut in the MCG Test after India dropped both misfiring openers K L Rahul and Murali Vijay.

The Australian bowlers high on confidence after the victory in Perth, but Agarwal thwarted the hosts with a sparkling 76 as he announced his arrival on the big stage in style.

Having forced his way to the Test team with a mountain of runs in the Ranji Trophy, the Karnataka batsman showed how the experience of domestic cricket has stood him in good stead.

In the second innings, he withstood a lot of pressure to score 42 to save India the blushes after Pat Cummins had run through the top and middle order.

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Rohit Sharma 7/10

Rohit justified his inclusion with a handy 63 not out in the first innings.

The Indian team was looking to strengthen its batting after the debacle in Perth and Rohit, who had got out playing a poor shot in Adelaide, shouldered the responsibility quite well this time around.

He shepherded the lower order to ensure India didn't waste the good foundation laid by the top and middle order and posted a total in excess of 400.

 

Hanuma Vihari 4/10

Vihari barely had time to react as he responded to the team's SOS to open the innings.

He may not have scored many runs -- 8 and 13 -- but his steely determination of looking to stay as long as possible left Kohli impressed.

He spent a total of 111 balls at the crease combined in the two innings and also provided the captain with the option of bowling some off-spin.

Vihari and Agarwal look to continue as the openers for the final Test in Sydney with India unlikely to tamper with a winning combination.

 

Ajinkya Rahane 5/10

Rahane hit a fluent 34, but was unable to play a long innings as he fell leg before and perished for just 1 in the second innings.

 

Rishabh Pant 7/10

Apart from his constant chatter behind the stumps, there was much more to Rishabh in the MCG Test.

He showed his utility with the bat, hitting 39 and 33 in the two innings, and took 3 catches in the match.

There were a few blemishes with the gloves including a dropped catch, but he is certainly one for the long run.

 

Ravindra Jadeja 7/10

Ravindra Jadeja

IMAGE: Ravindra Jadeja took 5 wickets in the MCG Test. Photograph: Quinn Rooney/Getty Images

Jadeja played his role to perfection.

In the first innings, he kept things tight from his end, picking up 2/45 in 25 overs, allowing the fast bowlers to attack from the other end.

In the second, Jadeja came into the game courtesy of the footmarks and struck important blows to finish with 3/82.

It will be interesting to see if Jadeja retains his place if Ravichandran Ashwin is declared fit for the Sydney Test.

Mohammed Shami 7/10

Shami is particularly dangerous in the second innings as his record shows and at the MCG he made a couple of important breakthroughs.

He didn't have much to do in the first innings with Bumrah single-handedly destroying the Australians.

In the second, he claimed 2/71 to finish with 3 wickets in the match.

 

Ishant Sharma 7/10

Senior pro Ishant's experience comes in handy for the Indians. He provided India the perfect start in the first innings with the early wicket of Aaron Finch.

In the second innings, he bowled some testing spells and claimed a couple of wickets.

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Harish Kotian / Rediff.com

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