In what was a clinical display by the Indian team, the visitors registered a 137-run win over Australia in the third Test on Sunday. With this victory India have taken an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series, and have a golden chance of recording their first ever series win Down Under.
After being hammered by the Aussies in the Perth Test, Virat Kohli & Co. displayed exemplary grit and determination to come out tops in the all important Boxing Day Test.
Before the Melbourne Test, Indian openers - KL Rahul and Murali Vijay - had been struggling to provide a stable start to the innings. But for the third encounter, a new combination of debutant Mayank Agarwal and Hanuma Vihari was tried. The ploy worked instantly as the duo toiled hard for almost 19 overs and strung a partnership of 40. With the shine of the ball gone, other batsmen looked more settled against a strong Australian bowling. This goes down as our game changing moment of the match.
The main reason India reached 443/7 in the first innings was Cheteshwar Pujara. The 30-year-old brought up his 17th Test ton from 280 deliveries to hand India an early advantage in the match. This was his second ton on the tour as he combined well with skipper Virat Kohli to forge a partnership of 170. Courtesy his solid 106, Pujara is now the highest run-getter in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and also our Most Reliable Player of the Match.
If the batsmen laid the foundation for the win, it was the bowlers, especially Jasprit Bumrah, who tormented the Aussies in both the innings. The fast bowler returned with match figures of 9/86 and became the India's most successful debut bowler in a calendar year with 48 scalps. His dismissal of Shaun Marsh in the first innings, with a slow yorker that dipped in to the batsman's pads, shows his acumen. The dismissal came at a time when Marsh was looking solid at the crease. This makes Bumrah our best bowler of the match.
Not only batsmen and bowlers, but fielders too made their presence felt. Agarwal, after scoring 76 in the first innings pouched two catches at short leg. The first one came off Ishant Sharma's bowling to get rid of Aaron Finch, when the batsman tried to play a leg glance. Agarwal dived forward to complete a tough catch. While in the second one Agarwal, showed great reflexes to to dismiss Marcus Harris.