India (326 and 70/2) beat Australia (195 and 200) by eight wickets
India completed a remarkable recovery from their first-Test shambles to cruise past Australia in the second match and level their four-match series at 1-1.
Routed for their lowest Test score of 36 in an eight-wicket loss inside three days in Adelaide before Christmas, the tourists bounced back to win by the same margin midway through day four in Melbourne.
The victory – which sets up a tantalising second half of the series between the top-ranked hosts and the third-ranked visitors – also came despite the absence of India’s talismanic captain Virat Kohli, who is missing the last three Tests due to the birth of his first child.
Australia’s batting line-up has come in for heavy criticism throughout the series, having failed to pass 200 through their four innings. Batting icon Steve Smith has struggled with scores of one, one not out, nought and eight.
Having won the toss as raging favourites on Boxing Day, Australia were dismissed for 195 before India replied with 326, led by stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane’s inspirational 112.
A second-innings collapse left Australia flirting with an innings defeat before a rescue mission led by Cameron Green’s 45 took them from 99 for six to 200 all out.
That left India needing only 70 to win, which they collected in just 15.5 overs for the loss of two wickets with man-of-the-match Rahane fittingly hitting the winning runs.
Seamer Jasprit Bumrah led the bowling for India with four for 56 and two for 54, while off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin and paceman Mohammed Siraj each took five for the match.
“I think this will go down in the annals of Indian cricket, world cricket, as one of the great comebacks in the history of the game,” said India coach Ravi Shastri.
“To be rolled over for 36, and then three days later, to get up and be ready to punch was outstanding. The boys deserve all the credit for the character they showed, real character.”
Australia captain Tim Paine said: “We played pretty poor cricket, pretty sloppy cricket. As a batting group, we are very disappointed about what we have put up in the first two Test matches.
“Dropping a number of catches probably didn’t help. It was a bit of a sloppy performance in the field and we didn’t score enough runs again.”
The third Test is scheduled to be held in Sydney on January 7, although Cricket Australia is yet to confirm this amid speculation the match may be staged in Melbourne due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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