First publised on 2023-02-19 11:22:54
It was a case of all's well that ends well for India in the second Test at Delhi. In the end, India won by 6 wickets on the third day in a match they could have easily lost if Axar Patel and Ravichandran Ashwin had not rescued them in the first innings with a superb 114-run stand for the eight wicket after the Australians had reduced them to 139 for 7. K L Rahul, Cheteshawar Pujara, Shreyas Iyer and S Bharat failed and Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli and Ravindra Jadeja batted well but did not capitalize on the starts they got although Kohli got out to a controversial decision. But the way Patel and Ashwin batted showed that the Indian top order was guilty of not applying themselves to the task at hand. India conceded a one-run lead and the match was evenly poised. Nathan Lyon (5 for 67) was the pick of Australian bowlers and Kuhnemann (2 for 72) and Murphy (2 for 53) supported him well.
The Indian spinners were not as effective as expected in the Australian first innings and it was left to old pace warhorse Md Shami to snare four wickets to restrict the Australians to 263. Usman Khwaja (81) and Peter Hanscomb (72 not out) did the bulk of the scoring for the visitors but Warner and Smith failed again. In the second innings, the Australians were bowled out for just 113, leaving India to get 115 for victory. Jadeja and Ashwin were virtually unplayable as the ball turned and jumped and the close-in fielders had a ball. None of the Australian batters had a clue to what was happening when they resumed on the third morning at a healthy 61 for 1 with Travis Head and Marnus Labuschange at the crease. But when Ashwin got the damgerous Head early on and Steve Smith failed once again, it was just a matter of time before they folded up. As Jadeja upped his game, from 95 for 3, the Australians were soon reduced to 95 for 7 and it was all over.
The Indians got the runs but not before K L Rahul failed once again. Rahul has now become a liability for the team, despite his excellent fielding. With Shubman Gill in ominous form, it is criminal to keep him out and keep giving chances to Rahul despite his repeated failures. The team management must give Gill an opportunity in the next Test at Indore. Ravindra Jadeja took 10 wickets in the match and also scored 26 runs in the first innings and was deservedly chosen Player of the Match.