Not even a troupe of monkeys with the world’s largest cache of bananas could match the joy of India’s nail-biting victory in Brisbane on Tuesday. Beating Australia in Australia is grand enough. But comprehensively defeating the world champions in the finals of a tri-series tournament is a different ball game altogether. After the on-and-off pitch controversies that dogged the Indian team’s tour to Australia, it seems reassuring that the bat and the ball finally decided matters. The Brisbane victory, coming after the thumping win against the Aussies on Sunday in Sydney, wrapped things up without the need to pad up for a third ‘final of the finals’ match. That, for all practical purposes, means claiming the championship not in ifs and buts, but in one confident grab.
It was once again ‘born-again’ Sachin Tendulkar who fired the turbo boosters at the start of the Indian innings. His blitzkrieg 91 was a continuation of his blistering 117. With Robin Uthappa partnering him on the pitch, India was looking for a hefty total for the Aussies to chase. But Australia swung the game back in their court by dismissing India for a not-imposing-at-all 258 final score. The news pages, along with the Australian score card, have the gory details for you to relish over and over again. But without falling for the temptation of paving our hosannas with the nitty-gritty, let us just happily take note of the fact that Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s team smacked of being world beaters and on Tuesday they were.
India’s first victory in Australia in the final of a tournament since that glorious Benson & Hedges World Championship win in 1985 under Sunil Gavaskar’s captaincy has come not a day too late. The happiest bit about the Commonwealth Bank series champion team is that they are on a long upward curve where important qualities like experience and grit will be picked up on the way. Newcomers like Tuesday’s Man of the Match Pravin Kumar, the yet-to-be-fully-baked Sreesanth and the whole new bunch are heroes in the making. Tuesday they just got recognised.