India faced its worst nightmare in the first Test against Australia in Adelaide. The team was all out for 36, the lowest ever Indian total in Test cricket.
The entire nation was shocked and raised its voice in chorus against the selectors for choosing ageing nonperformers. Captain Virat Kohli went on paternity leave and did not come back for the three remaining matches.
Team India bounced back in the second Test with a thumping eight-wicket victory as it brought in Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant, Mohammed Siraj and Ravindra Jadeja, who made significant contributions to let India rise like the mythical Phoenix. A gritty 112 by Ajinkya Rahane laid the foundation for India’s win.
In the third Test, the Australians played like wounded tigers only to be tamed by the Indians with courage, skill and determination.
The addition of Shardul Thakur, Navdeep Saini and Washington Sundar made the team stronger. Sundar and Thakur proved they are a tough breed and can perform under pressure. The six youngsters helped India win one of the toughest Test series in Australia.
The point is that the management changed players only after the team was all out for 36 in the first Test. It was not Rahane’s magic that won it for India; it was the grand performance of all six new faces in the team that snatched victory from the jaws of defeat.
The Australians are taller and physically stronger than the Indians. They had the advantage of a green-top, hard wicket to bounce and swing the ball at will. But the Indian youngsters passed the test with flying colours.
Now, India’s team management should always have backup players for Ravichandran Ashwin and Rohit Sharma and even for Ajinkya Rahane. Though Rahane scored a century in the second Test, his performance was not impressive in the remaining five innings of the series. While celebrating its victory, India should not keep Ravi Bishnoi, Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Varun Chakravarthy, Devdutt Padikkal and Ruturaj Gaikwad waiting for too long.
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