here are very, very few Test matches as the one we witnessed at the Gabba. On second thoughts, there are very, very few Test tours as the one we witnessed unfolding over the last month and a half between India and Australia Down Under. Every moment the visiting team was pushed into a corner, they found a hero or two and crawled out of their misery with elan. Every moment the Australians believed the match was in their pocket, Team India sprung a surprise that took everyone by surprise.
At Gabba, Australia’s fortress and a venue where they had not lost a single Test since 1988, the inexperienced Indian team rose like champions to script a win for the ages. Led by Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara, the side scaled the target of 328 in the final half an hour of play to seal the series 2-1, after not many had given them a chance.
The equation was simple in the final session of play – India needed 145 more runs for a win, while Australia needed seven wickets. The Indians also had the option of defending everything that came their way and settle for a draw, which would have still meant that they retained the trophy. However, youngster Rishabh Pant had other ideas. Batting on 10 before the start of the final session, the wicket keeper took his time to get going before dispatching the ball to all parts of the ground. He was dropped on 16 after Tim Paine missed a stumping chance, but he looked rock solid after that and took on the reins after Cheteshwar Pujara had been sent back after the second new ball had been taken.
The last hour was full of emotions and drama as India lost Mayank Agarwal to bring hope to the Australian camp, but all of that was negated as Washington Sundar continued from where he had left off in the first innings. He sent Pat Cummins for a six over deep square leg and reverse swept Nathan Lyon as he raced away to 22 in just 29 balls. The equation fell to 10 off 25 balls before Sundar was dismissed.
Earlier, the day belonged to Shubman Gill and Pujara, who stitched together 114 runs for the second wicket, with the latter contributing only 26 runs. The youngster, in particular, was at home against Australia’s short bowling as he hooked and pulled Mitchell Starc at one point for three successive fours. India managed 79 for 1 in the first session of play, laying the foundation for a run chase of the ages.
The talking point from the series, however, is the mental fortitude that every member displayed. Pujara was hit on the body 11 times on Day 5, but did not let that deter his attention a wee bit. This had been the tour for India – the Australians did not think twice to attack the body, and bowl short balls to the Indian tail, and though it led to injuries, it also led to a sterner resurgence. In a bio-bubble for close to six months, most of the players looked jaded by the end of the game, but not before giving the fans plenty of moments to remember for a lifetime.
Brief Scores: Australia 369 & 294 lost to India 336 & 329/7 (Gill 91, Pant 89*; Cummins 4-55) by 3 wickets.