India’s victory in the 4th Test v/s Australia, in Australia, at the Gabba, will go down as one of the finest victories. It’s been an overwhelming ride with a lot of emotions, facts and criticisms to digest for Team India. Let’s put the spotlight on the things which happened on the ground and off the ground.
- Pant has announced his “match-winner” status
- A new era of match winners
- A T20-like approach to Test matches
- Test Cricket was the biggest winner
- Pujara can’t be replaced
- …And we can’t forget the contribution of Washington Sunder and Shardul Thaur
- Pat Cummins and the other Aussie bowlers bowled their hearts out.
- Ajinkya Rahane’s remarkable captaincy
- The depth of the Indian bench strength
- A heartwarming gesture by Team India at Gabba
- Ignore the experts. Play your game and let Twitter do the rest.
- A fitting end to Ashwin-Paine Banter
Pant has announced his “match-winner” status
Rishab Pant’s knock of 89 not out was what helped India clinch the final Test-match at the bouncy Gabba wicket. Throughout his innings he showed his class and temperament to bring India home. Expect him to become a first choice keeper batsman in Test. He’s a match winner.
A new era of match winners
Match winners are those who can score fast and chase down any big total, when needed. In bowlers, it’s those who can take quick wickets. Like Bumrah is to India, Pat Cummins is to Australia. Previously, there were two batting match winners in the Indian side – Virat Kohli and Rohit. Maybe Rahane too. If these guys stick, they can score fast and chase down any big total.
At the 4th Test Match at Gabba, after Rohit’s wicket fell early in the day, perhaps nobody would’ve given India a chance to win. And that’s when the young blood shined.
Shubman Gill took apart the Australian bowling line-up, especially Mitchell Starc. He looked very comfortable playing classic cricketing shots. His fast paced 91 laid the foundation for a successful run chase.
Then came Pant. He was calm and composed. When given an opportunity he pounced. That’s exactly how he hit Nathan Lyon for his first six. At one point India needed more than run-a-ball. But with Pant at the crease, that equation was always under control.
On the bowling side, you’ve Mohammed Siraj. He got the wickets when needed. It’s still unclear if he’ll fix his spot in the team but he has the ability for sure.
A T20-like approach to Test matches
This test showed us how being a good T20 player can help in the longer format of the game too. Think about the last 50 odd runs left to chase. At one point, India needed more than run-a-ball. Even the most optimistic commentator casually remarked that India won’t be playing for a win from here. If it were 2010, maybe they wouldn’t. But in 2021, they certainly will.
In the future, we’ll see a lot of batsmen adopting the T20 mindset in Tests. Pant and Sunder showed the world how it’s done and when it’s applicable. Test Cricket will move forward in this direction.
Test Cricket was the biggest winner
Apart India, there was a winner. It was Test cricket. Someone rightly said that test cricket is the real test of any cricketer. It requires one to have the technical skills as well as the non-technical skills to play good cricket.
Games like these only advocate for the Test cricket. Tell me if you weren’t watching enthusiastically the last day, the last hour and the last ball? If you didn’t, go on Youtube and watch it again. It’s worth it.
Pujara can’t be replaced
No matter how many match winners you’ll have, you’ll always need one Cheteshwar Pujara. He took the blows on his body. Cummins and Hazlewood were nasty to him, but Pujara kept fighting on and on. Pujara kept one end under control which allowed other batters to settle in and start scoring runs. He’s the anchor of the Indian cricket ship. He’s the unsung hero in this Indian cricket team.
…And we can’t forget the contribution of Washington Sunder and Shardul Thaur
At one stage, it looked as if India would be rolled under 250 in the first innings. That would’ve given Australia a healthy lead and India would’ve been out of the game. But two youngsters stood up to the challenge – Washington Sunder and Shardul Thakur.
They played solidly and started scoring runs. This frustrated the experienced Aussie bowling line-up. Their partnership wiped away Australia’s lead and bought India back into the game. Their partnership kept India in the game. Thakur also grabbed 4 wickets in the second innings, contributing with the ball too.
Eventually, Pat Cummins broke the partnership between Sunder and Thakur. And that brings me to…
Pat Cummins and the other Aussie bowlers bowled their hearts out.
No matter how much we praise the Indian team, you’ve got to credit the Australian bowlers for their performance. One in particular is Pat Cummins. The guy bowled some nasty stuff. He also kept getting crucial wickets at important stages in the game. If it was his day, he could’ve won the match for the Aussies.
Hazlewood, Lyon and Starc also bowled their heart out but didn’t have good figures to show for it.
Ajinkya Rahane’s remarkable captaincy
Nobody thought without Kohli this Indian team would beat Australia. Rahane stepped up as leader. He scored runs and single handedly won the 2nd Test match for India. The most amazing part of his captaincy is that he listens to the opinion of others when making a decision.
Rahane is so under the radar, that sometimes you don’t know who’s leading the side. Nevertheless, he’s quiet and aggressive at the same time. Currently he’s the unbeaten Test captain. It’s a nice little record to enjoy.
With Kohli coming back into the side, Rahane may lose his captaincy. But he has led Team India to victory in one of Indian cricket’s finest chapters. It’s a memory the whole nation will cherish and remember his name as the leader of the pack.
The depth of the Indian bench strength
First have a look at all the first choice players who aren’t in the playing 11. Kohli, Bumrah, Shami, Bhuvaneshwar, Ishant, Yadav, Rahul, Ashwin, Jadeja. I may have missed a name there as well. Despite their absence, India managed to beat one of the strongest sides in World Cricket. This shows the depth and the courage of the Indian cricket team.
Here’s what the head coach of Australia, Justin Langer had to say –
“First, you can never take anything for granted, second never ever, ever underestimate the Indians. There are 1.5 billions Indians and if you play in that first eleven you got to be really tough, don’t you?”Justin Langer, Head Coach of Australia
A heartwarming gesture by Team India at Gabba
Nathan Lyon was playing his 100th Test for Australia. Team India handed him a jersey with signatures of all Indian players. Team India showed us why they’re the real champions. Hard on the field. Humble in their victories.
The BCCI’s generous. Jay Shah, BCCI secretary announced Rs. 5 cr bonus for the Indian cricket team. That’s heart warming and satisfying!
Ignore the experts. Play your game and let Twitter do the rest.
After India were trounced in the first test, every expert had their “opinion”.
Whitewash India. 4-0 India. Without Virat, there’s no chance.
What did Team India do? They went out on the field. They batted, bowled, fielded. Took blows to their body. They were racially abused. They were sledged with the worst choice of words. But team India fought hard and marched on.
In the end, they conquered a fortress. They emerged victorious, against all odds. Experts were proven wrong.
Now, Twitter and memers are in business. They’ll take care of all the haters and the experts.
A fitting end to Ashwin-Paine Banter
The 3rd India vs Australia test took a bitter turn. Tim Paine was excited to get Ashwin to Gabba. Ashwin wanted to get Paine to India. The first one didn’t happen. And there may not be a need for the second one to happen.
Ashwin tweeted –
“Good evening from Gabba!! I’m sorry I couldn’t play here but thanks for hosting us and playing some hard cricket during these tough times. We will remember this series forever.”
What fits well, ends well.
The 4th India vs Australia Test at Gabba in Brisbane will go down in the history books. 19-January-2020 will be a day every Indian cricket fan will hold forever in his memory.