Eleven years after he made his Test debut, Sourav Ganguly seems to be drinking from a secret fount of youth.
What else can account for two of his most amazing innings ever, at the ripe age of 35? What else can account for the fact that, two years after being condemned as a man whose game was up, Ganguly piled up over 1,000 runs in a single year?
The man himself saw nothing remarkable in this — he said nothing has changed in his game, that it's all in the mind. Ganguly's 330 runs from this game, including that inspirational 239 in the first innings, gave him the Man of the Match award; his total of 534 from five innings, apart from his four wickets, also made him the Man of the Series.
Numbers be damned, it was his flamboyance that sent down a frisson of thrill down the watchers’ spine — he seemed to be at the height of his powers yet again, his strokes through the off-side seemed to go back in time.
He seemed to have found the fearlessness of his youth, without its brashness. In the first innings, he shepherded Yuvraj Singh and then stepped back to admire the fireworks. In the second, after two wickets fell early, he again hit back, with delicate touches and brutal swipes. It was a cracking surface, yet Ganguly made it all look so easy.
So, what has changed so much in him that has changed his game so much, taken it to its youthful heights?
"I haven't made any major adjustments in technique," Ganguly later said. "Most of the adjustments are in the mind."
Ganguly’s two tons in two matches was the first time he did this after his debut. He came close to making it three in three. "I'm slightly disappointed that I could not the hundred in the second innings, but it was good to make runs on this pitch when it was needed," he said.
Runs would be needed in Australia too — he was the skipper and the inspiration when India drew the series there four years ago. Now's the time for an encore.