Indian braves stun Aussies | Sunday Observer

Indian braves stun Aussies

7 February, 2021

The stage was set for a nail-biter, a heart stopper and call it whatever you want and what was on show was five days of exciting action rarely seen in Test cricket these days and for which spectators cricketers and cricket fans crave for. And India —call them BRAVES , did not disappoint.

That’s how best the Indian cricketers could be described after their unbelievable stunning victory by three wickets over Australia in the final of Four Test matches at the Brisbane Cricket Ground recently.

With this victory India won the series 2-1 and also retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy. Border and Gavaskar are two former greats and captains of Australia and India whose achievements, like good wine needs no bush.

When India lost the first Test in Adelaide being shot out for 36 their lowest score in their history and brought shame on themselves no critic would have expected the Indians to hit back with a vengeance as they did in the final two Tests after playing out a draw in the second Test.

After the shame that was heaped on them by the rampaging Aussies in the first game, unforgiving critics were baying for the removal, especially the coaching staff led by former Indian captain and all rounder Ravi Shastri and also questioned the leadership of big scoring Indian captain Virat Kohli

After that defeat captain Kohli went on paternity leave because they were expecting their first born and Kohli wanted to be there to welcome the first born which was a bouncing baby girl.

The onerous task of leading the Indians after their shame in Adelaide fell on the shoulders of stylish right hand batsman Ajinkya Rahane.

Rahane was aware that if he fails to rally round the team and perform better and erase the shame that his neck too would be on the block.

The Indians did well to draw the second Test which probably helped them to raise their spirits and game all round and what they did in the remaining two Tests were remarkable and a lesson to other teams how to hit back when the chips are down. Rahane accepted the challenge and led from the front and with the team backing him he outplayed the cock- a-hoop Aussies in the next two Tests.

When the two teams assembled at the Gabba in Brisbane for the decider with a 1-1 record, odds were in favor of the home team because they last lost a Test there was in 1988. The Gabba was the venue where the first historic tied Test was played out by Australia and West Indies in 1961.

So the stage was set for a nail-biter, a heart stopper and call it what you want and what was on show was five days of exciting action rarely seen in Test cricket these days and for which spectators yearn for and it was poetic justice because India’s chase of 328 on the final day looked like climbing cricket’s Mount Everest , considering that they lost the big scoring Rohit Sharma early.

What was admirable was the manner in which the batsmen following walked out to the middle undaunted and intelligently and cleverly phased their victory target.

Opener Gill 91, Pujara 56, Rahane 24, Pant 89 not out and Sundar 22 batted with great skill, intelligence and discipline to take India to one of their greatest victories in the history of their game. Wicket keeper Pant was rightly adjudged the man of the match.

Australia did not go down without a fight. Their pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins bowled fearsome spells with plenty of short pitched bowling that brought back memories of the ‘bodyline’ era.

But the Indian batsmen hit all over the body and hands took it all, stood tall and when the winning hit was made there was jubilation by the Indian supporters on the ground and there would have been elation back home because the Indians came back from the dead as it were to pocket this memorable triumph.

India did not have their best attack in this game. Missing were off spinner Ashwin and left arm bowling all-rounder Jadeja, pacemen Shami, Yadav and Bumrah all benched owing to injury. But the raw attack of pace from Saini, Thakur and left armer Natarajan and the biting off spin from Sundar was enough to rattle the strong Aussie batting line up.

India now seem to be breeding pace bowlers which is good when they play away from home. In the past India used to produce great spin bowlers and did not concentrate on pace bowling. But now their approach is different.

Former Indian spin greats were Vinoo Mankad, Gulam Ahmed, Baloo Gupte, Nadkarni, Chandrasekhar, Venkataraghavan, Bishen Bedi, Dilip Doshi, Pragan Ojha and Eknath Solkar to name a few.

The series was well contested with no sledging that the Aussies are famous for. Except for Aussie skipper Tim Paine who lost his cool and sledged a bit in order to win and keep his captaincy in the Third Test which he apologized later, there were no damaging incidents.

However the series missed the likes of Symonds and Harbhajan who kept teasing throwing barbs at each other when they were playing and adding fun to the game, which otherwise would have been lacking in interest and excitement.

Congratulations then to India on their resounding success and shutting the mouths of their critics who kept baying for the removal of their coaching staff and captain Kohli, although Kohli’s captaincy would be a bit dicey, now that replacement captain Ajinkya Rahane brought life to their game that looked in ruins when they lost the first Test by innings, drawing the second and winning the third and final Test and the series.

As for the Aussies, their selectors cannot be faulted if they give back the captaincy to their run making machine who also has a shrewd cricketing brain Steve Smith.

Fr. Michael Payyapilly who is from India conducting the Holy Mass at the Holy Family Church in Doveton, Australia telecast on Verbum TV in Sri Lanka in his gospel referred to India’s amazing victory and the elated Indian team doing the lap of honour round the ground. The Indian cricketers certainly deserved this honourable mention.

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