India made a comeback for the ages by thumping Australia by 8 wickets at Melbourne. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane and opener Shubman Gill survived early jitters to chase down a modest target of 70 runs inside 16 overs.
In the previous Test match, the Indians dominated the first two days. However, on the third morning, they were bundled for their lowest ever total in an innings. Australia had won that match with the same scoreline of 8 wickets.
After that humiliating loss, many pundits predicted a 4-0 scoreline in favor of the Aussies. Former England captain Michael Vaughan was one of them.
Following India's clinical win on Tuesday, former India opener Wasim Jaffer took a savage dig at Vaughan for his jeers. Jaffer, who is known for coming up with rib-tickling comments, trolled Vaughan with an Indian meme on Twitter.
— Wasim Jaffer (@WasimJaffer14) December 29, 2020
India's win was led by skipper Rahane who made significant contributions with both bat in hand and as an astute skipper.
Rahane-led India has exposed the tenuous Australian line-up
The visitors came to Melbourne with their resources stretched to the brink. However, with a concerted effort and some unprecedented teamwork, they brought the Aussies under the pump.
The Tim Paine-led side cracked under the pressure as well. They are yet to record an innings total of more than 200 in the series. Players like Travis Head and Joe Burns have been brilliant performers for the team over the past couple of years. However, India seems to bring the worst out of them.
Moreover, on a Melbourne pitch that had some grip, turn and bounce, Australia's premier spinner Nathan Lyon could account for just a solitary top-order wicket. Steve Smith's 'lost hands' are also a major concern and so is the long list of dropped catches.
With the series drawn at 1-1, the momentum and balance have tipped in India's favor. Critics who were vibing at India's loss in the first Test are now criticizing the fragile Australian batting order.
Under immense pressure, Tim Paine and Co. will face a herculean task in Sydney. They will have to overcome a still depleted, but a lot more spirited Indian tem on 3rd January.