The Indian cricket team under Virat Kohli created history by winning a Test series in Australia for the first time. India has been travelling to Australia since just after independence in 1947 and while there have been teams that have drawn the series in the past, Kohli’s team raised the bar by winning the series.
The win was built over some splendid batting performances and some incisive bowling by the new ball bowlers led by Jasprit Bumrah and the indefatigable Ishant Sharma and Mohammad Shami.
It was a team effort in the real sense as the Indians fielded tigerishly throughout the series ensuring no easy runs were given to the Australians.
Without the banned duo of Steve Smith and David Warner, the Australian batting looked very ordinary indeed. There was no batsman who looked as if he would get a big hundred like Smith and Warner used to reel off so regularly for Australia.
What was even more disappointing for the Australian fans was that their pace trio of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins were unable to trouble the Indian batsmen apart from the test match at the New Stadium in Perth. In the next two test matches in Melbourne and Sydney India piled up more than 1000 runs and took the game away from the Australians.
Mitchell Starc, the spearhead of the Aussie attack never looked dangerous and Hazlewood was more steady than threatening. Pat Cummins was the one who the Indians had to watch out for with his pace and movement.
The most difficult to face was the off-spinner Nathan Lyon who showed once again why he is the best in the world with his probing line just outside the off-stump getting the ball to turn in to the right-hander.
The win in Melbourne meant that India wasn’t going to lose the series and once Kohli won the toss in Sydney and Pujara dropped anchor, the Australians were batted out of the game. The only alternative for the Australians was to bat like the Indians and get as close to the Indian total and ensure they didn’t lose the game.
The series win compensates to a certain extent the disappointment of the South Africa and England tours with which the year 2018 started. There were huge hopes and expectations that the year presented a wonderful chance to the team to show that its number one ranking was justified and not based simply on its home series wins.
The Australia tour also showed that the injury diagnosis department needs to be questioned about their diagnosis as well as the assessment of the injuries.
After the unfortunate injury to Prithvi Shaw, we were told that he had started light jogging during the first test itself and that he would be ready for the third test in Melbourne. Then suddenly he is sent back a week before that test is due to begin, so was the extent of the injury misdiagnosed or is there something more than what we are told about his return.
Similarly with the injury to Ashwin. We are informed by the media that he is training with the team but then on the eve of the game we are informed that he is not fit. Again his injury assessment has been misdiagnosed and he is carried around Australia for the next three tests when a replacement could have been sent. Or again is there something more than what we are told? Somebody has to be accountable for these mistakes and hopefully, the historic series win will not sweep this under the carpet.
It’s been a magnificent start to the year so let’s hope that the momentum and rhythm are maintained and Indian cricket shines brightly throughout 2019.
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