Monday, 01 Mar, 2021


Team India Rewrite Cricket History at Gabba

Saleque Sufi |
Update: 2021-01-19 19:14:04
Team India Rewrite Cricket History at Gabba [photo collected]

ICC Test Championship 
Border Gavaskar Test Series; Vodaphone Test Series 
4th Test 
Australia VS India Played at Woolloongabba, Brisbane from 15-19 January 2021 

Brief Score Card.

Australia 1st Innings 369 All Out in 115.2 Overs (Marnus Labuchangne 108, Tim Paine 50, Matthew Wade 47, Steve Smith 36, Nathan Lyon 24, Mitchel Starc 20*, T Natarajan 3/ 78, Shardul Thakur 3/94, Washington Sundar 3/ 89) 

Australia 2nd Innings 294 All Out in 75.4 Overs (Steve Smith 55, David Warner 48, Marcus Harris 38, Cameron Green 37, Pat Cummins 28*, Tim Paine 27, Marnus Labuchagne 25, Mohammad Siraj 5/73, Shardul Thakur/61, Washington Sunder 1/ 80) 

Lost to 

India 1st Innings: 336 All Out in 111.4 Overs (Shardul Thakur 67, Washington Sundar 62, Rohit Sharma 44, Maynak Agarwall 38, Ajinka Rahane 37, Cheteswar Pujara 25, Josh Hazelwood 5/57, Mitchel Starc 2/88, Pat Cummins 2/94, Nathan Lyon 1/65) 

India 2nd Innings 329/7 in 115.2 Overs (Shubman Gill 91, Rishabh Pant 89*, Cheteswar Pujara 56, Ajinkya Rahane 24, Pat Cummins 4/55, Natahn Lyon 2/85) 
India Won by 3 Wickets 
India Won The Series 2-1. India Retained Border Gavaskar Trophy 
Player Of The Match: Rishabh Pant 
Player of The Series: Pat Cummins. 

Team India batting exceptionally well chasing an improbable target of scoring 324 runs on the last day of wearing Gabba wicket against a top quality Australian bowling attack won the test by 3 wickets.

Through this spectacular win India added a new page to their glorious history cricket history. Otherwise very strong Indian team depleted by injury of key players (most of their frontline bowlers ,  absence of captain Virat Kohli turned the table on host Australia winning the series 2-1. This series win retained the Border Gavaskar Trophy. Quite a few records were toppled; a few milestones were set up. Australia did not loose a test at Gabba since losing to West Indies in 1988. It was the first test win by India In Gabba. It was the highest successful run chase at the venue.  Credit must go the entire Indian team and team management for their glorious turning around after bing completely humiliated getting shot out for 36 in the second innings of at day night pink ball cricket test at Adelaide. Following that disaster Virat Kohli returned home for staying beside his wife for the birth of his first child. India under Vice Captain Ajinka Rahane turned around winning the Boxing day test at MCG Melbourne. The series was squared 1-1. In the third test India for certain looing position fought with back to the wall and earned honorable draw. 
Fourth and final test at the fortress of Australian Cricket at Woolloongabba presented a huge challenge for India. The entire front line bowling attack was unavailable due to injury. India had to include reserve players and some net bowlers. Moreover, history was against them. Few critics gave India any chance of winning. All thought that India would at best draw the test and retain the Trophy. But Inspired India led by cool, better organized Rahane marshaling his resources brilliantly won the test and won the series for India.

Brisbane Test In Brief: 
Fresh spread of CORONA virus in NSW and Queensland at one stage made the fate of final test at Queensland uncertain. For strict Quarantine protocol of Queensland Government some Indian players initially expressed reluctance. But hectic parleys between CA and BCCI good senses prevailed. Still players had to observe unusually stringent quarantine protocol. 

India had to bring four changes of their team giving two players Natarjan and Sunder Indian caps. Can you imagine that India appeared in the final test without Bumrah, Sami, Yadab, Ashwin and Jadeja?  

Australia was desperate for winning the test and winning the series. On the other hand a draw was enough for India for retaining the series.

Australia winning the toss had the privilege of batting first on the flat wicket at the best period of the test. Yet rookie Indian attack bowling their hearts out could restrict Australia to 369 all out.  Indian reply was boosted by great rearguard actions by rookies Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur. India scored 336 conceding only 33 runs lead.
India bowlers bowled superbly in the second Innings getting Australia all out at 294. The target for India was set at 328. Complete fifth day and about an hour and a half of day four was left for India battling out. In the meantime, a tornado striking North Queensland brought deluge in Brisbane. The fourth days last session got washed out. 

Bright sunny weather greeted all on day five on a promised exciting last day of last test and the series. All three possibilities emerged of Australian win, Indian win and draw. Cummins made the first inroads removing flamboyant Rohit early. Indian New Wall Pujara joined new Indian sensation. Lyon could get Pujara out had field umpire responded positively to his appeal of LBW. On the DRS it came out that the less than 50% of the ball struck the ball. Umpires call saved. From there on Pujara endured series of assaults on his body in stonewalling Indian innings. On the other end, very positive Gill batted superbly savagely counter attacking Australian bowlers. Scoring 91 gorgeous runs Gill got out tricked by Lyon at 91. By that time India started looking good at 2/132. Pujara got bruised and battered by several blows all over his body. Yet he did not bulge. Pujara batting for 211 balls anchoring Indian Innings while at other end Rahane briefly and later Punt blasted Indian attack. Of the Australian bowlers lion hearted Cummins bowled aggressively. Taking wickets of Pujra, Rahane and Agarwall in his hostile spells he tilted the balance. But brave punt batting superbly took India hope with a shining unbeaten 89. Many teams would have chosen to bat out and draw the test. But India had positive intent and phased the chase with brilliant strategy. 

It was a spectacular Indian performance and glorious test win, a record setting successful fourth Innings chase. India won by 3 Wickets., won the series by 2-1, retained the Border Gavaskar trophy.  Indian think tank out witted Australian think tank. Rarely in the past Australian bowling attack failed closing tests in their favor from winning position as they did at SCG and Gabba. 

This Australia India series was eventful, closely contested, thrilling and exciting. In my 50 years' experience of watching test cricket this test and this eventful Australia – India series would remain among the best. Perhaps doyen of Cricket Writers Sir Nevil Cardus could pen picture the thrills and excitement. Even the nature favored brave India. Rain staying away made historic Indian win possible. 

BDST: 1913 HRS, JAN 19, 2021

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