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Wednesday, Aug 21, 2019

OPINION | Aussie win will make India invincible

This Indian side can only get better and remain the No. 1 in Test cricket for a long time.

cricket Updated: Jan 08, 2019 09:05 IST
Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
Hindustan Times
India captain Virat Kohli kisses the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning the Test series between India and Australia.
India captain Virat Kohli kisses the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning the Test series between India and Australia.(AFP)
         

And the gold medal goes to …Virat Kohli’s team, the first Indian side to win a Test series in Australia.

And what a team performance it was; a 2-1 win, only halted from being 3-1 by the Sydney weather. The bowlers performed above and beyond as they have done in all of the last three Indian overseas series.

This is the best Indian pace attack I’ve seen. They were backed by the best Indian fielding side I’ve witnessed; they saved numerous runs and held a number of excellent catches as well as doing the mundane things that are expected.

It’s not the best batting group seen from India but they were good nonetheless, headed by man-of-the-series Cheteshwar Pujara. India got better as the series progressed while Australia wilted and a lot of that was down to Pujara’s relentless run scoring.

Pujara blunts an attack better than anyone else in world cricket currently and in wrestling terms, he applied the submission hold to Australia.

PANT, A SOLID FIND

Australia’s attack is a good one but he blunted it to the point where they were flat and frustrated and didn’t Rishabh Pant and Ravi Jadeja take advantage at the SCG? Pant was the find of the series for India and an improvement in his footwork standing back and glove work up to the stumps will see him rivalling the best in wicket-keeper-batsmen.

Mayank Agarwal and Kuldeep Yadav also left their mark on the series, enough to suggest they will be important players as the team looks to aim for even greater heights. When you add the injured Prithvi Shaw and Hardik Pandya to the side, it starts to take on a formidable look whether playing at home or away.

ALSO READ: Steve Smith, David Warner return no cure-all for Australia, says Michael Vaughan

Add the confidence this victory in Australia will give the line-up and barring unforeseen accidents, this Indian team has the opportunity to apply a stranglehold to the number one ranking.

CRUCIAL ROLES

Virat Kohli was a crucial ingredient in India’s meritorious victory, not just with his batting but also his passionate leadership. His fierce determination to win this series transferred to the players and the joy on the faces of Kuldeep’s team-mates when he claimed five wickets at the SCG told the story of a side united in their goal.

There’s no doubt that Jasprit Bumrah was the leader of the attack but when he tired a little in the last Test it was a tribute to the depth of bowling that India were still able to dismiss Australia relatively cheaply on a good pitch.

The suggestion from some Australian quarters that a few of the pitches were too flat, prompted the perfect response from Ricky Ponting -- “If there so flat why don’t the Australians make more runs.”

HUNGRY PUJARA

The glue that held this Indian side together was Pujara. In the end, he blunted the Australian attack into submission and made every other batsman’s job easier. His love for batting was exemplified when he explained that he would like a bit of a rest but his team (Saurashtra) has an important first-class (Ranji Trophy) match soon after he returns home and he feels the need to play.

Unless his thirst for runs is satiated I pity the opposition attack.

This is a very good Indian side and it should only get better. Having broken through the Australian barrier, their confidence will soar and the other teams better beware no matter where they’re playing India -- at home or away.

(The author is a former Australian Test captain and is writing exclusively for Hindustan Times. Views personal)

First Published: Jan 08, 2019 09:03 IST

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