After their series-sealing triumph against Australia in the second One Day International (ODI) on Sunday evening, the Indian cricket team's stand-in skipper KL Rahul said he did not expect the wicket to take so much turn later on. India had put a mammoth 399 runs on the board and in reply, Australia could only muster 217 as prime India off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin scalped three wickets to put pressure on the selectors ahead of the ODI World Cup. (Scorecard | More Cricket News | Match Report)
"When I saw the wicket in the morning, I didn't think it would spin so much. Putting 400 on the board gives you confidence," Rahul said after the match. Talking of the selection conundrum ahead of the World Cup, Rahul said: "Selection is the headache of the coach and Rohit (Sharma). It's not really our decision to make. Our jobs are clear. Everyone who gets picked in the XI, needs to focus on their job. Everyone has gone through this, you need to keep getting better and wait for the opportunities."
Throwing light on some missed opportunities in the field, the acting skipper said: "We have dropped a few catches, but fielding under lights, it's challenging physically. The coaches are doing their best to keep the guys fit. Sometimes these errors happen. The commitment is always there, we'll learn from it, brush it off and get better in the next game."
Australia's stand-in skipper Steve Smith agreed with Rahul's assessment on the pitch. "When we came here it looked like a good wicket. Credit to them, Gill and Iyer batted beautifully and took the game away from us. The way KL and Surya batted, it was briliant. After the rain, it got sticky and it started to spin."
Shreyas Iyer was the player of the match after his scintillating century on Sunday. Iyer said: "It was a rollercoaster ride, feeling fantastic. My team-mates, friends and family were there for my support. I was seeing the matches on TV, I wanted to be out there and participate in the matches. Grateful to be believing in myself. The pain and niggles kept on coming, but I knew what I was aiming for. Glad that I was able to execute my plans perfectly today."
Opener Shubman Gill too cracked a splendid ton and combined with Iyer for a 200-run partnership. Gill later said: "It feels good. Satisfied as a team, we have the momentum at the right time. It depends on the situation, there's definitely some confidence. I can cover up later, and that confidence is because I am scoring at the moment."
The Indian team on Sunday evening showed just how dangerous they can be when they are on song. Gill demonstrated his insatiable hunger for runs with his fifth century of the year - his fourth in ODIs in 2023, while Iyer hit a timely ton under pressure to set up a series-sealing 99-run victory for India in the second ODI against Australia in Indore.
Gill (104 off 97 balls) and Iyer (105 off 90 balls) starred before Suryakumar Yadav (72 not out off 37 balls) unleashed carnage to fire India to 399 for five, the hosts' highest total against Australia in ODIs. Rahul chipped in with 52 off 38 balls.