Yesterday morning before the game started on the day 4th, I was just checking out the ICC test rankings for test cricket. India’s good performance in this long daunting home season is very well reflecting on the rankings. Two batsman in top 2, two bowlers on first and second position very well poised, and the same two making it to all rounder’s list as 2nd and 3rd. Almost 15 points difference between the first and second on team rankings .Rightly justifying the good performance.
What started off from Kanpur, finally after traveling throughout the nation, has come to halt in the chillness of Dharamshala. Big adjectives and over-qualifying adverbs can be used to describe the performance, the dominance and fight backing attitude of the Indian side. Down in a series 0-1 , pressure game and tough opposition, India went on to win next two out of three match and eventually series. A win by 8 wickets is not only a win by 8 wickets, but it also proclaims to the world that a new world champion has arrived.
Numbers will tell you that day 1 was shared while day 2, the swinging session, was marked by swinging pendulum. Then came day 3, which was totally owned by India. From the resilient morning session fight back by Jadeja and Saha to noon session’s fiery deliveries from Umesh and Bhuvi, the day had India’s name on it and that had made all the difference.
Let’s roll it from the start. Another lost toss, third this series for the Indian Captain. Terrible news for the Men in blues came that morning as Virat Kohli, after hurting I shoulder in the previous game, ruled himself out. His position as a commander-in-chief was taken over by Ajinkay Rahane. Well after some minor hiccups and one major blow, Australia was in commanding position before lunch was served. Post-lunch saw the momentum swinging into the host’s favour. After being 131/1 at lunch, Oz’s were dismissed for 300. Many credits should be given to Kuldeep Yadav, India’s first Chinaman, with thos X-factor bowling (4/68). Smith, one more inning, one more century (111, third in the series and total- 499 runs). He has garnered himself the title of run machine. Half of his career runs has come against India. Australian collapse shows that how much they rely on their captain.
Well, Indian batting was also not that great. Vijay went for 10, but after that it was all India’s middle order show. Except for Nair (who needs to know that one big score won’t keep him in the team for long), every player got a start on a pitch that was helping the pacers and spinners alike. Contributions from Rahul (60 and 51, 5/6th fifty in the series), Rahane (46 and 38), Pujara (57) and of-course Sir jadeja (63) made sure that India has a good psychological lead of 32. And how much important this lead proved in the context of this game.
In the Australian second innings, three Oz’s wickets fell for 31/3. Maxwell (45), tried hard to revive the innings but eventually the Indian bowlers spun the victory, reeling Australia for 137 giving India a target of 106 that was achieved without much ado on day 4. Jadeja (18-7-24-3), Ashwin (3/29) and Umesh (3/29) broke the Australian batting order’s backbone.
The biggest things about the match and moreover series victory is:
• A win without any contributions from the best/ most experience player in the side- Virat Kohli
• A win where no one or two players are architect but the entire team jointly takes the credit.
• A win on the track especially Dharamshala which is a typical western country wicket. Green top, seam and bounce unlike Indian conditions.
There is another sense of pleasure when your bowlers make your team win. Oz’s bowlers did that in the first teat and Indian’s did that in last. Umesh yadav, KL Rahul, Ravidra Jadeja and Rahane (as a leader), has been the find of the series. Persistence by Pujara and Saha in tough conditions in Ranchi or Jadeja’s bowling in final session in Bengaluru etc; this series has been another level of performance. And ot to forget the sledge, DRS row, outside media influence etc which did take a toll on the performance on/off the field. But this series will not remember for those, but will be indelibly imprinted for the performance, both tough and hard that both the sides put in.
When Oz’s came in the country, a 9 continuous defeat was in a backdrop and when they board the flight for home, they will be sad but pleased with the effort put in. India has given their everything in these 180+ days season of engaging and engrossing cricket. The footprints of a great team can be seen, but time and adversities tell you a lot. The start has been fabulous, the continuation is question. For time being, a long stretch of white cricket has come to a pause and it’s time to shift focus to the shortest format, to pump for respective cities and to be engrossed in raining sixes. Till then, do like and share.
Pic credits: cricbuzz.in