The second was a forward defence to a full incoming ball from Pat Cummins. The ball pinged off Gill’s bat and nearly reached the boundary ropes, resulting in three runs for the batsman. It was clear Gill also has a sound enough defensive game.
The third shot was when a twinkle-footed Gill skipped down the track to a sharply spinning Nathan Lyon delivery and drove it to the right of the mid-off fielder for a boundary. That showed facing spin and tackling quality spin bowlers was bread and butter for Gill.
Day 2, however, wasn’t as decisive for Gill. He was often beaten on the inside edge. Australian captain Tim Paine spurned an easy catch off Josh Hazlewood’s bowling. But, somehow he managed to see off Hazlewood, who bowled four overs in his first spell.
At the other end, Pat Cummins kept going for two more in his first spell. It was the final ball of Cummins’ sixth over that Gill went for a booming cover drive to a delivery that was at the sixth or seventh stump. Gill edged the ball to Paine and an innings that promised much more came to an end. Later, Gill realized and honestly admitted his error in judgement.
“I am not really happy with the way I got out. It was the last ball of Cummins’ spell and I should have seen it off. It was a loose shot to play at that moment,” Gill said. “But overall, my goal was to play with intent and build partnerships, and I managed it to an extent.”
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Ajinkya Rahane scored his 12th century in the third session of Day 2 to lead India’s reply against Australia in the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. (Getty Images)
“When I came in to bat, there was something in the wicket and the pitch was quite lively. The only thing that I told myself was no matter what’s happening in terms of the pitch or what’s happening around me, I should be able to play my game and I should be able to express myself. My objective was to play with intent. That was my thought process throughout my innings.”
The Melbourne Test might be Gill’s first, but he has been with the Indian Test squad since September 2019 when he earned his maiden call-up. The youngster said facing the “top quality” Indian fast bowlers in the nets helped him gear up for his debut.
“I’ve been travelling with the team for the last four-five Test series. Being with the team, it helped me a lot… to be able to settle in the team,” Gill said. “I’ve been doing all my net sessions and practice sessions. To be able to play bowlers like Boom (Jasprit Bumrah), Shami bhai, Umesh bhai or Ishant bhai in the nets, it’s a huge confidence booster for a youngster. All of them are top quality. That’s why when I went out to bat, I didn’t really feel like I was in a whole new place.”
He may be an opener, but Gill will be “happy to bat wherever the team wants me to bat” in the future if any selection conundrum arises.