19-01-201. Chennai 7:57 AM – Brisbane 12.27 PM
In all the years of watching Cricket, I have not seen a performance by India as exhilarating as the current India’s tour of Australia. Yes we followed India’s first major victory outside her shores in 1971 when they won Test Series in West Indies and England. And few test match wins (not many series abroad). But the current one is at another level.
Tons of articles and megabytes of data is already filled on how difficult it is to play international sport during pandemic. The bio bubble, restrictions on social interactions and curfews. A young team from India has withstood all the travails and standing tall after 51 days and two hours of Cricket.
Michael Vaughan one of the best English players of yesteryears had predicted that India will be walloped in all forms of the series. And it did look like that at the beginning. India lost the first two One Day matches by some distance. They pulled back and won the third ODI.
Then they won the first two T-20 games and Australia won the last T-20 game. So at the end of shorter formats of the game it was one all.
India began the test match well Kohli playing a majestic game in the first game and they crashed to their lowest score in seventy odd years of playing International cricket a paltry 36 runs. To add to their owes, their best batsman left on paternity leave. Then a series of the remarkable turnarounds started. Rahane and Jadeja played their match of their careers and India won the game in Adelaide to draw the series one all. Can’t differentiate the teams by scores as well. Australia won the first match by eight wickets and India the second test match by the same margin. It is still a draw of honours.
Then a series of injuries struck India. Their best bowlers started reporting injuries. No issues for the third match Hanuman Vihari and Ashwin played an entire session to earn their best test draw after 1979 Oval Test Match. So at the end of third test the tournament is still a draw. Australia 2-1 in ODI, India 2-1 in T-20 and Test Matches one all with one draw.
Both ended up with injuries and India debuted two young players to play the final match in Brisbane which is an Australia fortress where they have not lost a match in thirty years. India bowled well to restrict Australia and with some excellent lower order batting from Washington Sundar and Thakur, narrowed their lead to just thirty odd runs.
Another young bowler who had lost his father recently, Mohamed Siraj took five wickets in Australia second Innings and India is set a target of 300 odd runs and an entire day to get the score. End of the fourth day of the fourth and final test all three results were possible; India win, Aussie win and a draw.
I just woke up and checked the score. Another young batsman from India Shubman Gill is playing a gem of an innings supported by ever reliable Pujara.
It is lunch on the final day of the tour, two more sessions and still all three results are possible. In four hours we will know. An India win or even a draw would become a folklore and a loss will still leave the touring team with pride which they would never have felt in their young careers.
Well played India.
If the BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India) had not been avaricious in forcing the team to play IPL just before the first world championship of test cricket, resulting in so many injuries to cricketers, the result could have been different. But then, that is another story for another day.