India create history in Australia by breaching the Gabba fortress!
By MKV | Galatta | Jan 19, 2021, 05:42 pm
On their 2018-19 tour of Australia, Team India created history by winning their first ever Test series on Australian soil! However, there were a number of naysayers who mentioned that this victory would not have been possible, if Australia hadn't been missing two of their best batsmen in Steve Smith and David Warner, who had been serving suspensions for their involvement in the Sandpaper-gate scandal! The victory was hailed nevertheless. On their current tour of Australia, India were the team missing out on a number of their first-choice players, due to various reasons. With a stand-in captain for the majority of the series, injuries to almost all their leading bowlers, their best batsman & captain back home for the delivery of his first child and above all, a drubbing for their lowest ever Test score of 36 after gaining a first innings lead... This is what India were up against, in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy! The ODI series was taken by Australia 2-1, before India bounced back to take the T20 series 2-1!
After dominating the majority of the first Test, one poor session cost India the match with insult adding to injury. A depleted but resolute Indian side returned for the 2nd Test and a masterful captain's innings by stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane and a stellar performance from the bowlers, handed India the match, levelling the series. After being down and out in the third Test, some rearguard action from the Indians, especially Pant & Pujara and then Ashwin & Vihari, thwarted Australia's plans of a victory and took the match to an improbable draw, which turned out to be as good as a victory for the visitors! However, even before the 4th & final Test started, India had lost all their first-choice fast bowlers, their premier spinner and their swashbuckling allrounder. With an inexperienced bowling attack, facing an almost full-strength Australian team, India were looking down the barrell!
India's resilience came to the fore when two of their bowlers, one playing in his first Test, came together to smash their maiden Test half-centuries to ensure that Australia did not get away with a massive lead. The Indian bowlers then took all 10 Australian wickets for the second time in the match, to set their batsmen a tricky target of 338 to win the match & the series. Rain had played a deciding factor in wiping off an entire session on Day 4 and had also threatened to do the same on Day 5. The Indian batsmen ground out the already tired Australian bowling to chip away at the total, despite losing Rohit Sharma early. The young and exciting Shubman Gill fell 9 short of an amazing maiden century with some positive, attacking strokesmanship! The ever resolute Pujara, braved a number of blows to his body and got to his slowest ever half-century but held one end tight! Rahane started positively but fell for 24, leaving the Indian fans with a bit of a worry. Pant was promoted ahead of Mayank Agarwal and he showed his class. Having slowly gotten his eye in, Pant began taking on the tired Australian bowlers but played with caution to ensure that he didn't throw away his wicket! When Pujara fell after the new ball was taken, all 4 results were possible in the match. Debutante Washington Sundar played yet another cameo to almost lead India to victory, before he fell to Lyon and Thakur fell to Hazlewood. Despite the overs whittling down, the positive intent by the Indian batsmen kept them in the hunt and they got to their target with about 15 balls to spare! Pant had gotten himself to 89 not out, along the way. This win is historic for a number of reasons, the most important being that Australia have not been beaten at their fort - The Gabba, in 32 years. India have now won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 and have moved to 2nd place in the rankings, in Tests. Rishab Pant was named the Player of the Match, while Pat Cummins took home the Player of the Series award. This shall go down in Indian Test history as one of their best ever wins, with various players putting up their hands at different times!