If I use the word ‘Unbelievable’ for this test match, I guess that will be a euphemism of highest order. India, lost the Pune match by 333 runs and came back strongly to win a low scoring game at Bangalore by 75 runs, reinstating the status of the best side in this format. This test match had everything from patience to perseverance to thrill to drama. They say Test-Cricket is the purest form of the game and now we know why. Session by session the momentum shifted like a pendulum and at last the side that kept its nerves, Won. As they say, sports show character and yes, this match is a perfect example for that.
Not a great test match by numbers, low scores and slow run rate, but yes, some incredible performances. If at the start of the test series someone would have told me that at the end of two test, no team will score 300 or Virat Kohli or David Warner will not have any big score in 4 innings or Ashwin will take a five-fer in only one innings, I would have been like: Come ‘on, you kidding me? But some two and half weeks down the line, all those apparitions are true.
2001 India versus Australia, Kolkata test, was in the flashbacks when India was bowling in the fourth innings. The brilliant comeback by the host goes on to prove that yes they are the best side, at-least in home conditions. Flying catches (Smith in 3rd and Saha in 4th innings), sledging (One cannot simply forget Ishant’s mockery face) or brilliant use of DRS for either side: the contest had all. But the highlight or the turning point for India was the Pujara’s(92) and Rahane’s(52) partnership, batting out the entire session wicket-less (first session in the series to be played wicket-less) in India’s second innings when they had a feeble lead of mere 35 runs.
The match marked the home coming of Rahane and Ashwin coming back to prime and of course saw some brilliance from Rahul (Man of the match for his innings of 90 and 51) in the midst of falling Indian wickets. Jadeja picked up his 6/63 in the first innings (second best career figures) and Lion Lyon took 8 wickets for 50 runs making Indian batsman dance on his fingers in the first innings (his career best figures). But the talk of the town has to be the pacers. Taking wickets at regular and most importantly crucial moments was something that was the silver lining of the test. Hazelwood registered the figures of 6/67 in the third innings amiably supported by his ally Starc (1/39 and 2/74). Indian pacers also performed miracously, especially in the last session of play. Ishant (1/48 and 1/28) tormenting Smith (8 and 28) was something worth watching in the Australia’s first innings.
This test match saw another error in judgment by Kohli (12 and 15) in the first innings as he was LBW at Lyon’s delivery. His second innings dismissal is something controversial and questions the use of technology in sports. Addition of a specialist batsman (Nair- 26 and 0) failed terribly for India only to let up by its bowlers. Come-back man Abhinav Mukund also failed to impress while his counterpart was on a roar. There has to be separate discussion of this tiger that aussies are taming- Matt Renshaw(60 in the first innings). What a batsman and what a class. Resuming his innings form where he left in Pune. Shaun Marsh (66 in 1st innings) also proved healthy with the bat
All in all it is a test match that will go down in the history of cricketing fraternity. How patience and perseverance pays off is vividly emanated by this match. India’s top class form and some classic response by the aussies. As they say, the best is saved for the last and indeed the last of this Indian home season is definitely witnessing some best performances. Ashwin has bowled more than 650 overs this season and took 75 wickets, highest in the season for India. We are watching a young team shaping into a world winner. The future looks good and certain for India. For Aussies, well they played well; only the luck wasn’t in their pockets this time. The series is very much open. Would be interesting to see how the rest of the matches unfold. Till then, keep supporting and do subscribe, like and share.
Image Courtesy: ht.com