IND vs AUS: India giving strong message in 2nd Test in Kohli’s absence, says Dhawan

IND vs AUS: India batsman Shikhar Dhawan feels that Ajinkya Rahane-led side’s dominating all-round performance in Virat Kohli’s absence, in the ongoing second Test against Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground, is delivering a strong message after the humiliating eight-wicket loss in the pink-ball Test.

Rahane’s 12th century in the longest format of the game and Ravindra Jadeja’s well-made fifty gave India firm control in the second Test. It was a Test master-class from Rahane as he played the first two sessions cautiously and then unleashed his true class after the tea on Sunday. “India have done so well in the second Test even in the absence of Virat Kohli. I’m very confident that India will (win the series). They are doing so well and giving such a strong message with their bowling and batting. It shows that our bench-strength is also prepared to take on any side,” Dhawan told reporters here.

“I’m very pleased and happy that our players are doing well in Down Under,” he added.
Dhawan last featured for India in the white-ball series against Australia and scored 201 runs including two-fifties.

India came into the Boxing Day Test on the back of a humiliating loss. The visitors were bundled out for 36 in the second innings of the pink-ball Test at Adelaide Oval. This score is India’s lowest-ever score in Test cricket. Before this, India’s lowest score was 42 in Test cricket against England in 1974.

Rahane was sent back to the pavilion on the third morning after he was run-out while attempting a risky single. His wicket triggered a collapse and the visitors slipped from 294/6 to 326 all out in the first session itself. At stumps, Australia’s score read 133/6 — lead of 2 runs — as India kept a tight rein on the hosts’ batsmen and did not allow them to settle.

Earlier in the day, Delhi and District Cricket Association (DDCA) announced that Dhawan will captain Delhi in the upcoming Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy while pacer Ishant Sharma will return to action in the tournament after undergoing rehabilitation at the National Cricket Academy.

DDCA named the 20-member squad for the shortest format competition which begins on January 10 and the India pacer will be making a return after missing out on the Australia tour due to a side strain.

Delhi Squad: Shikhar Dhawan (c), Ishant Sharma, Nitish Rana, Himmat Singh, Kshitiz Sharma, Jonty Sidhu, Hiten Dalal, Lalit Yadav, Shivank Vashisth, Manjot Kalra, Siddhant Sharma, Anuj Rawat (wk), Pradeep Sangwan, Simranjeet Singh, Pawan Negi, Ayush Badoni, Vaibhav Kandpal, Lakshay Thareja (wk), Pawan Suyal, Karan Dagar.