This Test Series Will Be Remembered Forever

This is the first time I’m posting a blog on a day other than Sunday. It has been such a special day, for Indian cricket team and for cricket fans. What a match it has been at The Gabba, the so-called “Fortress” of Australian team. The last time Australia lost at this venue, Virat Kohli was just 16 days old. One can imagine the confidence of Oz players before coming to the match even if he didn’t see the match (although there is no such person in India). But, the biggest thing is how the Indians made a record even after suffering from so many injuries.

They could have made an injured playing 11 with this

These were the players who either got injured in between the tour (most of them) or just before it. So, India was practically playing with their second best team or the ‘B’ team as many said. Then how was India able to win this match? The key was temperament and resilience. Let’s look at it pointwise.

Sundar – Shardul Partnership

As I said, India was already playing with their ‘B’ team, but the bowling unit was even worse than that. Six out of the eleven players in the earlier table were bowlers, so the bowlers (specifically the fast bowlers) would not have been a part of even the top – 5 list on any other day. And this was seen in the first innings. Marnus Labuschagne made a terrific hundred to take Australia’s score to 369. In response, Indian team was 186 for 6 at one point of time. The debutant pair Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur surprised the OZs with a 123 run partnership. This, I think, was the defining moment of the match. This partnership boosted India’s confidence and put them again in the match. I don’t think that India would have won or would have been in a position to draw the match once they would have given a huge lead to Australia.

Siraj’s 5 – Wicket Haul

Now it was important to limit the OZs to a low score because a target of 250 has never been achieved in Gabba. The third – tier Indian bowling unit had taken a total of 13 wickets in test cricket before this match as compared to 1033 wickets by Australian bowlers. Also, three main bowlers were making a debut in this match. The inexperience in bowling was quite clear in this match. But, Mohammad Siraj, who was playing his third test, took his first 5 – wicket haul to restrict the OZs from giving a huge target although, they were successful in setting a target of 328. Siraj has performed well in every test he played in this series. He has been consistently bowling tight lengths throughout the series and the cracks on the pitch helped him on day-4 of this test. There should also be a notable mention to Shardul for taking 4 wickets in the same innings.

The Final Day

Today (19 January 2021) was the most interesting day of all. One could not tell what will be the result even before the last session of the day. India started its chase and lost their Vice – Captain Rohit Sharma early in the morning. Fearless youngster Shubman Gill played a fine innings of 91 not out (he deserved his first century). And then Rishabh Pant and Cheteshwar Pujara made a match-winning partnership. But, Pujara got out while India needed 100 more runs. Pant played a responsible innings and pushed India towards a historic win. He was awarded Player of The Match for this. Pat Cummins, the Australian pacer, was awarded Player of The Series for the highest number of wickets in the series (21). And Indian Captain lifts the Border – Gavaskar trophy second time in a row.

Ajinkya Rahane with Border- Gavaskar Trophy

As Joy Bhattacharya tweets, it was the greatest test win and the greatest series win in Indian history. After getting all out at 36 in the first test, this I think, was also the greatest bounce back ever. This series also puts up a question mark on the Australian cricketers and most importantly on the captain Tim Paine. This Australia was different from what we have seen in the past. A team which is always in controversy for their sledging did not utter a single word in the whole series, except a couple of instances where it backfired. Especially David Warner didn’t show any aggression while batting as well as while fielding. Nonetheless their bowling was top class and they were able to stop Cheteshwar Pujara, the hero of 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar series, from scoring even a single century this time.  Nathan Lyon, one of the best test spinners playing right now, was also given a signed jersey by Indian players as a tribute for his hundredth test match.

Nathan Lyon is going to burn that T-shirt

To conclude, it was truly a very big day for Indian cricket. Some showed how underrated they were considered before this test. The youngsters were able to make a mark in the test squad, and Indian team was able to break a lot of records. But, this test will be remembered for the character, patience and fighting spirit shown by Indian ‘B’ team. This is test cricket my friend.

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