SCG Test drawn but India rewrite history down-under
2 months after India got its independence in 1947, Lala Amarnath’s Indian team toured Australia for the first time. Just over 71 years later, Virat Kohli’s team India has managed to win their first ever Test series on the same land.
While India were in command in the last Test to make it 3-1, rain and bad light played spoilsport. But this team will take the 2-1 scoreline as well.
When India enforced the follow-on on the fourth day, they had about 155 overs to bowl the Aussies out but the weather had other plans. Only four overs were possible on Day 4 and the entire fifth day was a washout.
Before that India got a massive 322-run lead on a day where only 25.4 overs were possible. Kuldeep Yadav produced his first five-wicket haul on away land when he rattled through the Aussie line-up.
In pursuit of India’s 622, Australia got off to a bright start with Usman Khawaja and Marcus Harris attacking the spinners. However, Kuldeep spoiled the party by bagging Khawaja but Australia were undeterred.
Marnus Labuschagne joined Harris as Australia went into lunch with 122 on the board just for the loss of one wicket. In the post-lunch session, Jadeja came to the party. He first castled Harris on 72 and then got Shaun Marsh edging one to the slips.
Mohammad Shami brought an end to Labuschagne’s 38-run knock when he hit the ball straight to Ajinkya Rahane at a squarish-short mid wicket which was very well placed by Virat Kohli.
Just before the stroke of tea, Kuldeep removed Travis Head and the Aussies were reduced to 192/5. Skipper Tim Paine was beaten all ends up by Kuldeep as soon as the last session began but Peter Handscomb stood tall.
The right-hander was brought back to counter spin and was doing it with relative ease to keep India at bay but Jasprit Bumrah had him chopping onto his own stumps as Australia again slipped.
Cummins was knocked over by a Shami delivery which kept low and Kuldeep Yadav was quick to dismiss the tail as the hosts bundled out for 300.
India posted a mammoth 622/7 on the board after Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat first. KL Rahul’s poor form continued when he was caught in the slip cordon off the new ball but Mayank Agarwal combined with Cheteshwar Pujara to help India dominate the first session.
The duo added 116 for the third wicket when Agarwal, in an attempt to over-attack, fell to Lyon after scoring a splendid 76.
Virat Kohli, came out with pink gloves, a pink sticker and a pink grip to support the Jane McGrath foundation, earning the praises of cricket pundits.
He was looking solid but couldn’t convert his start when he was caught down the leg on 23. Ajinkya Rahane’s start-stop-tour too came to an end when a ripper from Starc curtailed his innings on 18.
Meanwhile, Cheteshwar Pujara made his start count and piled on another important century in the company of a stable looking Hanuma Vihari as India went to stumps with over 300 runs on the board.
On the second morning, Lyon bagged Vihari for 42 controversially but Pant gave Pujara ample support and played the second fiddle as India grew from strength to strength. Pujara fell 7 short of a very deserved double ton when Lyon had him caught and bowled.
After this, Australia were completely decimated courtesy a Rishabh Pant master-class with Jadeja adding fuel to fire.
Pant got through the nervous nineties and became the first Indian wicket-keeper to score a ton in Australia while Jadeja took Cummins to the cleaners by smacking four boundaries in one over.
Tim Paine tossed the ball to Usman Khawaja and Travis Head too in a bid to break the stand which lasted for 224 balls but more importantly yielded 204 runs before Lyon got rid of Jadeja on 81.
India declared on 622/7 with Rishabh Pant remaining unbeaten on 159. Cheteshwar Pujara for his marathon 193-run knock was awarded as the Man of the Match. He finished as the leading run-getter as India clinched the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2-1.