Indian fans were worried when regular skipper Virat Kohli left the Australian shores, they were a bit iffy with the tactical acumen to be offered by the new skipper Ajinkya Rahane as both cricketers are poles apart. But those doubts were quickly put to rest by the Mumbai cricketer as India gained upper hand on the opening day of the second Test match in Melbourne.
India bundled Australia out for 195 and in turn were 36/1 when Stumps were called. One of the main reasons behind visitor’s success was some of the tactics that were deployed by the new skipper, like putting a leg slip during the most part of Australia’s batting. As many as three cricketer-Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith were caught at the above mentioned position. Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was highly impressed with the strategy and said that he expects more usage of such an ‘underused’ fielding position in the future.
“The amount of catches you see now off the fast bowlers at leg gully is astounding," Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“The last three or four years, whether it’s in Australia or (wherever) it is, we’ve had a lot of our players caught there and even thinking back two years ago to the MCG, Pat Cummins got a few of the Indian guys caught in the leg gully area as well. It’s becoming more of a tactic in the game."
“What happens when a fast bowler pushes one down the leg side, the tendency for right-handers is to just fall over a little bit. If you’re falling to the off-side to try and keep the ball down on the leg-side becomes that little bit more difficult. As this game goes on, I reckon we’ll see even the Australians have a leg gully in there for a lot of the time, particularly against the right-handers."
The World Cup winning skipper said that India’s success in the field had got a lot to do with Rahane."(Rahane’s captaincy) has been brilliant so far," Ponting said. We were all a bit worried about how they were going to pick themselves up after Adelaide.I think they looked potentially better today (under Rahane’s leadership).
“Rahane’s field placements, bowling changes have all been pretty much spot on. With captaincy, making bowling changes and changing the field, you need guys to be able to execute well. Some of the wickets they got today, even Smith at leg slip early on, I think that was a set plan. Joe Burns’ dismissal would have been exactly how they wanted it. Cam Green was set up today as well – Siraj bowled some really good outswingers to him then bowled an inswinger back down the line that trapped him in front. I think there’s been a lot of planning that’s gone into it and Rahane should take a lot of credit for that," he opined.
“We had him at Delhi this year (in the IPL). He’s a very smart cricketer, he’s a terrific bloke, works exceptionally hard on his own game but it just seems today the Indian boys have got right in behind him and they’re working for each other which is always good to see."