NEW DELHI: India pulled off a record run-chase in a thrilling final session on Tuesday to hand a full strength Australian team their first defeat at Brisbane’s Gabba ground since 1988. The result is a 2-1 series win. With the win India also retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy for the third successive time.
But the victory was nothing short of a miracle, as India, plagued with a plethora of injuries to key and first choice players, had to field a really inexperienced XI at the Gabba.
Mohammed Siraj, T Natarajan, Navdeep Saini and Shardul Thakur made up a completely fresh pace attack. Youngsters Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar held the fort in the batting department, ably supported by old warhorses like Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. Overall India produced a superb effort, overcoming multiple hurdles to register what will go down as one of their best, if not the best ever Test win.
Comparing the Australia and India line-ups, here are some notable points that need to be mentioned to highlight the difference in the combined experience of the two teams:
The India bowling attack comprising Siraj, Thakur, Natarajan, Saini and Sundar have a combined experience of 9 Tests (including the Gabba Test) against a full strength Australian bowling line up comprising Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon, which has an overall experience of 254 Tests (including Gabba Test).
In the batting department as well, India’s combined experience of 217 Tests was 37 short of Australia’s power-packed batting department which has played together a total of 266 Tests (including the Gabba Test).
Unlike the 2018-19 series Down Under, which India also won 2-1, the Aussies had the services of Steve Smith and David Warner this time.
India’s injury list has been a very long one on this tour. From Virat Kohli going back home after the first Test on paternity leave, to losing the likes of Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, R Ashwin, Jasprit Bumrah, Ravindra Jadeja, KL Rahul and Hanuma Vihari at different stages during the Test series, India have had to play with back up players and in the case of Natarajan and Washington Sundar – net bowlers to make up the playing XI.
But despite all that, Team India continued to fight. They bounced back hard to win the Boxing Day Test after being bundled out for their lowest Test innings total of just 36 in Adelaide. They pulled off a miracle draw in Sydney and then handed the Aussies a rude shock with a fantastic 3 wicket win, chasing a very stiff 328 run target in Brisbane.
A team playing with an extremely inexperienced bowling attack breached the Aussie fortress, the Gabba, where no visiting team had won a Test since 1988 with an almost third string line up to wrap up an unforgettable series Down Under.
This one will never be forgotten.
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Image Courtesy : TOI