Ravichandran Ashwin, the Indian off-spinner, talked about the calming influence of stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane as the tourists put the debacle of '36 all out' and painful loss in Adelaide behind them to level the Test series 1-1 with a mighty impressive win in Melbourne.
Rahane batted outstandingly for his ton in the first innings and led the side intelligently across four days to help India clinch a famous Boxing Day Test win. A result considered out of equation after the crushing defeat in the last game and loss of multiple first-choice players, including the great Virat Kohli.
"Getting bowled out for 36 was never going to be easy. We are quite a proud cricketing country and losing Virat was a bit of a setback," Ashwin told '7 cricket'.
"...but we stuck on really well. Jinks' calmness in the dressing room really provided us that stability to go out there and express ourselves in this game."
To show his aggressive instinct as captain, Rahane not only fielded five proper bowlers but also broke the convention while using them. He took note of the moisture available in the first session on Day 1 and introduced Ashwin into the attack first-change.
The off-spinner immediately rewarded his skipper with two quick breakthroughs, including that of India's historic nemesis, Steve Smith, for a duck as the hosts were dismissed for just 195.
"Coming down to Australia and if you cannot get Steven Smith out, it is always going to be an uphill task," said Ashwin, who has gotten Smith out twice this series so far.
"To get him out early is something that we have always worked on. We put together plans and when those plans come together, it is a pleasure," added the 34-year-old.
Rahane, who finished off the proceedings on Tuesday (December 29) with an unbeaten 27 in the second innings, was awarded 'Man of the Match' for his game-defining performance with the bat.
India earlier on dismissed the Aussies for a total of just 200 with Ashwin contributing a spell of 2/71, adding more scalps to his tally for the match after taking 3/35 in the first innings.
(Inputs from PTI)