India vs Australia 2nd Test in Melbourne Live Scores Latest updates – India vs Australia live score, AUS 133-6: STUMPS: Pat Cummins and Cameron Green safely negotiate the final over from Ashwin and take Australia into a lead of 2 runs. India have the upper hand at stumps. They didn’t bat well early on but their bowlers have been terrific again.
Day 2 report
It is not often that India dominates two consecutive days of a Test match in tough alien conditions in Australia. But that is exactly what has transpired in the first two days of the big Boxing Day Test at the MCG. After bowling out Australia for 195 in the first innings on Day 1, India ended Day 2 at 277 for 5, scoring 241 runs for the loss of just 4 wickets in the day’s play. Skipper, Ajinkya Rahane’s unbeaten 104 off 200 deliveries was the performance of the day for India and he was well supported by the likes of Hanuma Vihari, Rishabh Pant and Ravindra Jadeja.
India started the day on 36 for 1 with Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara at the crease. Gill played some more delightful strokes in the morning session and had raced to a classy and elegant 45 off just 65 deliveries (including 8 boundaries) before edging one to keeper, Tim Paine off the bowling of Pat Cummins. India received a double jolt when their Mr Dependable, Pujara nicked a brilliant delivery from Cummins for another catch to skipper Paine behind the stumps – it was a length delivery angled in before moving away inducing the edge from Pujara. Paine had taken a sensational one-handed catch. Cummins was in red-hot form, steaming in at pace he had picked two wickets in successive overs changing the match on its head.
Rahane found an able partner in Vihari and the pair resurrected the Indian innings with a patient and determined 52-run stand for the fourth wicket. Vihari was finally dismissed for 21 but he had done a good job under pressure for India keeping the Australian attack at bay facing 66 deliveries. More significantly, the Rahane-Vihari pair had not given a wicket to Australia for 21 odd overs.
Pant came in and showed intent – just what India needed at that juncture in the match. He got away a few boundaries and frustrated the proud Australian pace attack. He scored a quick 29 off just 40 deliveries and added 57 off just 87 balls for the fifth wicket with skipper, Rahane before falling prey to Starc. It was a very significant and timely contribution given the context of the match and the slow-scoring nature of the pitch.
Meanwhile, Rahane had occupied one end forging match-changing partnerships with the middle order. In Jadeja, he found an able partner and the pair took India past Australia. After a watchful first 35 runs in the partnership, the runs started to flow and the boundaries started coming regularly. Australia took the new ball after 80 overs and almost immediately got the breakthrough. Rahane was given a reprieve when he was dropped at second slip by Steven Smith off the bowling of Starc. The pair increased the tempo as India increased their lead over Australia.
Then the moment of reckoning came for Rahane as he registered his 12th Test hundred in the 88th over of the innings getting to the landmark with a fine cut to the point boundary off Cummins. It was a fantastic century by the stand-in-captain – one of his finest overseas especially given the context of the match and the series. Meanwhile, Jadeja was mixing caution and aggression brilliantly at the other end. He was putting away the bad balls but leaving everything else resisting numerous temptations outside the off stump. The left-hander has been in excellent form with the bat since 2018 across formats. The pair soon stitched together a potentially match-defining partnership of 100 in just 179 deliveries with the Australian attack with no answers on how to dislodge the stand. Rahane, on 104, was let-off for a second time in the day when Travis Head put down a relatively simple chance diving from gully to a snorter of a short ball from Starc.
India ended Day 2, a day they dominated, on 277 for 5 with Rahane unbeaten on 104 and Jadeja undefeated on 40. The lead had stretched to 82. India had scored 88 runs in 28 overs without losing a wicket in the final session. Australia were poor in the field and dropped a number of easy catches which may come to haunt them later in the match. As for India, if the Rahane-Jadeja pair along with the tail can take the lead past 150, it would put India in the driver’s seat on Day 3.
A fascinating day awaits tomorrow.