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India's win over Australia in Melbourne one of great Test comebacks, says Ravi Shastri

Ravi Shastri says India winning second Test, a week after being bowled out for 36, is "one of the great comebacks in the history of the game"; head coach salutes stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane as Australia skipper Tim Paine laments his team's "sloppy cricket"

India (Getty)
Image: India thrashed Australia by eight wickets in the second Test - having been beaten by that margin themselves in the first Test

India head coach Ravi Shastri says his side's eight-wicket win over Australia in Melbourne is "one of the great comebacks in the history of the game."

India were bundled out for their lowest-ever Test score of 36 in the day-night series opener in Adelaide, which they lost by eight wickets.

But the tourists rallied in the Boxing Day Test, winning inside four days after dismissing their opponents for 195 and 200, to draw level at 1-1 in four-match series with two games to play.

Shastri said: "I think this will go down in the annals of Indian cricket - no, world cricket - as one of the great comebacks in the history of the game.

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Covid restrictions meant the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground had reduced crowds - but those in attendance still made plenty of noise, as Adam Collins found out

"To be rolled over for 36 and then three days later get up and be ready to punch was outstanding. The boys deserve all the credit for the character they have shown."

Ajinkya Rahane (Getty Images)
Image: Shastri hailed Ajinkya Rahane (pictured) for his hundred and the way he captained India

Stand-in India captain Ajinkya Rahane - deputising for Virat Kohli, who has flown home for the birth of his child - was named Man of the Match, with his first-innings 112 guiding his side up to 326.

Shastri hailed Rahane's batting but also his captaincy, saying the 32-year-old excellently steered batsman Shubman Gill and pace bowler Mohammed Siraj through their Test debuts.

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Gill made scores of 45 and an unbeaten 35, while Siraj picked up five wickets in the match.

His effort was outstanding. The discipline and the ability to bowl long spells, the maturity he showed for someone playing his first Test.
Ravi Shastri on Mohammed Siraj

Shastri said of Rahane: "I thought his innings was the turning point. On such a big stage, in a massive arena. When he went out to bat, we were two down for 60.

"To bat six hours on probably the toughest day to bat. It was overcast; all day the sun never came out. Unbelievable concentration.

"He is a very shrewd leader and has a good understanding for the game. A good reader of the game.

"I thought his calm composure out there in the middle helped the debutants as well, helped the bowlers as well. There was a calming influence out there."

He looked very, very mature for someone playing his first Test match, very calm and composed. He wasn't afraid to play his shots, which was great to see. Even in the second innings, it was very easy to get into a shell but he went out there and played his natural game.
Ravi Shastri on Shubman Gill

Australia captain Tim Paine admitted his side had been second best throughout the Melbourne Test.

"We are very disappointed, we played pretty poor cricket, pretty sloppy cricket, for the majority of the match," he said.

"That's to take nothing away from India; they put us under pressure and forced us into making a number of mistakes. When you do that against good side it makes it very hard to win.

"You've got to give the Indian attack credit, they've bowled beautifully to us and we haven't adapted as well as we would have liked.

"As a batting group, we are very disappointed with what we've put up in the first two Test matches, but there's still two to go so we'll work hard and try to rectify it for the next Test."

Image: Australia are hopeful David Warner will be fit for the third Test in early January

The third Test takes place from January 7, with the fourth and final game beginning on January 15.

Paine is hopeful opening batsman David Warner will be fit for the third Test, having missed the first two games with a groin issue.

The Australia skipper added: "David looks really good from what I've seen. He's been training this week in the nets and has started running between the wickets. The early signs with him are very good for the third Test, which is awesome for us."

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