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At the end of the third day, India would have thought they can bat till Tea on day four and get the lead close to 225-250 and then attack Australia with spinners from both ends. But that was not the case as Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood combined to script another collapse of the Indian batting with the second new ball. India lost 6 wickets for 36 runs and were shot out for 274 in the second innings. Australia were set 188 for a win in Bangalore.
Now, anyone who saw Indian team before the start of this series would give India 90 percent chances of winning this. But after the Pune Test, Australia were favoured to win and take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. Chips down, India bounced back in the series, and how.
R Ashwin picked up six wickets and handed India a 75-run win, helped the hosts level the series 1-1. After a disastrous match in Pune, India were back at their best in Bangalore. Though there were hiccups, but it was a performance that India will be proud of. Out of all the wins this home season, this was the toughest and that will be satisfying got them. India passed the Bangalore test but would have hoped for better grades.
Bowlers lead the show
The bowlers once again bowled their heart out. They were not at fault in Pune as well. There were just not enough runs on the board to play with. Umesh Yadav and Ishant were magnificent in Pune, so was Ravindra Jadeja who took six wickets in the second innings. Ashwin assisted him, and there was a bit of role-reversal for both in Bangalore.
In Bangalore they did it again. Credit to Umesh for keeping the pressure from one end. Ishant with that early wicket of Matt Renshaw. And then it was Ashwin all the way with Jadeja picking up that wicket of Peter Handscomb to all but seal the match for India.
Virat Kohli termed the Pujara-Rahane stand as “champion”. And sure it was. That was were India believed that they can win this match. Pujara missed out on a deserved hundred and fell for 92. Rahane made 51. KL Rahul had earlier made 51. The batting, though in bits and pieces, showed the same approach as they had done all season. Pujara did not play a risky shot. Look at his wagon-wheel against Lyon and you will observe a pattern of play the off-spinner.
A bit more application from the other batsmen and we can have the same Indian team that blanked New Zealand and England. But credit to Australian bowlers as well. Hazlewood showed why he is the most successful bowler for Australia since his debut. Tight line and length with an odd ball that surprises the batsmen.
Now, the big question that pops up is: Can India maintain the winning run? Both teams now head to Ranchi for the third Test. There is a eight-day break for that match. The players will get ample rest before that match match and will be look to forget all the bad memories of this series.
Ranchi, hosting a Test for the first time, can be tricky. India will hope for a surface that assists them. But Australia’s performances in the two Tests so far makes it even as their bowlers have also performed exceptionally well.
But one thing that can help India is the crowd support. Ranchi crowd will see India Test for the first time and they will get behind the team, like Bangalore crowd did.