I was six years old when India and Australia played the famous test in Kolkata. India won that match after a follow-on. I don’t have a clear picture of that test match in my mind. I have seen the highlights of that match several times. But then I don’t remember what I did after India won that test match. I don’t know how people would have felt after that match.
But what happened on 19th January 2021 will always be there in my mind. Also, I think I now know about the feelings of people after the 2002 test match.
India defeated Australia at the Gabba, which no other team has done in the past 33 years. It is the reason Tim Paine was so desperate to play there. India defeated Australia in Australia in a Test series twice in a row. The other teams to do this are South Africa, West Indies, and England. No other Asian team apart from India.
South Africa is undefeated in Australia since the 2008-09 series. West Indies defeated Australia thrice in a row in a test series in 1984-85 and 1988-89, and the 1992-93 series. England defeated Australia twice in a row back in 1928-29 and 1932/33.
While the reason behind Australia losing the last test series against India was the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner. This time there is no reason. India was playing their second or third best XI on the field. Despite that, India surpassed all the challenges put forward by the Australian team. This series was a classic example of the David versus Goliath battle
India vs Australia – First Test – Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
In the first test, Australia bowled out India on 36 runs. Many cricketing legends ruled out the survival of the Indian team in Australia post that massacre. On top of that, the most experienced bowler got injured and was ruled out of the series. The captain was also not there.
India and Australia played the next test match on the boxing-day. Mohammed Siraj made his debut. He is an important character in this story.
India vs Australia – Second Test – Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne
India managed to bowl out Australia under 200 in the first innings. It gave the visiting team some momentum, and that was enough. That was enough to bowl out the Australians for 200 runs. That was enough for India to chase the target of 70 runs comfortably. India defeated Australia by eight wickets.
India vs Australia – Third Test – Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
India came to Sydney and was surrounded by controversies related to the bio-security bubble breach. The Australian media was chasing the Indian team like mad dogs. There were articles written all over the place.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. The duo of Labuschagne and Smith dismantled the Indian bowling attack. Smith managed to score a century while Labuschagne missed the landmark by 9 runs. India batsmen were nowhere near the Australian batsmen. India was behind the Australian team by 94 runs after the first innings. Australia again scored 300+ runs in the second innings. India needed 407 runs to win the match.
Gill and Rohit started well, but both of them were dismissed before India could reach the three-figure mark. Rahane managed to score just 4 runs. Pujara and Pant were on the crease. Both of them had a partnership of 148 runs for the fourth wicket. At one point, India was looking to cross the target. But then Pant was dismissed on 97 runs. Pujara was also bowled by Hazlewood on a score of 77 runs.
Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin were on the crease. While Vihari was suffering a hamstring injury and Ashwin was having back issues. Both of them batted for 43 overs. During these overs, Australians tried everything. But nothing worked.
India managed to draw the test match. The test match was at one point was in Australia’s pocket. But both Vihari and Ashwin were not ready to hand over the test match easily.
The result of the test series depended on the fourth and the final test of the series. This was played at the Gabba. A place that had a story attached to it. A story which said that Australia doesn’t lose at Gabba.
India vs Australia – Fourth Test – The Gabba, Brisbane
India was without Ashwin, Jadeja, Vihari, and Bumrah. Washington Sundar and Thangarasu Natarajan. Mayank Agarwal and Shardul Thakur were also included in the team.
The script was already there. Australia won the toss and again elected to bat first. They started playing according to the script. Australia managed to score 369 runs in the first innings.
All the Indian batsmen were dismissed under 200 runs. Sundar and Natarajan were on the crease after this. Both of them did Ashwin and Vihari. They managed to score 123 runs. Both of them scored half-centuries. India scored 336 runs. They were behind the Australian score by a small margin of 33 runs.
In the second innings, Australia was bowled out on 294 runs. Mohammed Siraj took a maiden fifer. He is a person who lost his father while he was in Australia. He didn’t travel back to India. It was his father’s dream to see him play test matches for India. The dream became a reality in the second test of the series. In the last test, he was the most experienced bowler in the team. This man proved that when if an opportunity doesn’t knock on your door, you break the door, grab the opportunity by its collar and have dinner with it.
India needed 329 runs to win the test match. Even if the test match would have ended in a draw, India would have retained the Border Gavaskar Trophy.
Rohit Sharma was dismissed on 7 runs. Gill and Pujara started well for India and added 114 runs for the second wicket. Gill was dismissed for 91 runs and was denied a well-deserved hundred.
Rahane fell short again. He scored 24 runs off 22 balls. Pujara and Pant had a partnership of 61 runs before Pujara was dismissed on 56 runs off 211 balls. He played a knock which would be remembered for ages. His leg stump, off stump, middle stump, and body were targeted by the Australian bowlers.
After this, it was Rishabh Pant’s day to shine. He repeated his second innings at Sydney. But this time he was more calm and composed. He didn’t touch the balls, which were bowled outside the off stump.
He made a mockery out of one of the best bowling lineup in the world. He scored 89 runs off 138 balls. His boundary of Hazelwood’s over sealed the game and the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for India.