India creates history at Gabba, retains Border-Gavaskar Trophy

By Anurag Mallick  Published on  19 Jan 2021 12:15 PM GMT
India creates history at Gabba, retains Border-Gavaskar Trophy

Defying all odds, the Indian cricket team led by Ajinkya Rahane made history and retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 at the Brisbane Cricket Ground on 19 January.

With heavy rain around the corner and a score of 328 to chase on the final day, almost everyone wrote Ajinkya Rahane and his men off the game as they had to either play out a total of 98 overs for a draw or score 328 to win.

Popularly known as Australia's fortress for the past 32 years, the Brisbane Cricket Ground witnessed a young Indian team bring the fight to Australia's highly skilled and experienced bowling unit.

India was off to a poor start with Pat Cummins finding the edge of Rohit Sharma early in the day. In walked Cheteshwar Pujara, India's most resilient batsman. He and the 21-year Shubman Gill put up a wonderful 114-run stand for the second wicket where the entire nation saw the grit, patience, and courage of Cheteshwar Pujara. He took blows to almost every part of his body but did not give up. The partnership was finally broken by Nathan Lyon as he got Shubman Gill caught at slip for a classy 91.

Cheteshwar Pujara at one end continued to bat while often getting hit beside Indian skipper Ajinkya Rahane who made a quick-fire 24 before getting out to Pat Cummins.

In walked Rishabh Pant who now had a huge responsibility to keep the scoreboard ticking alongside the rock-solid Pujara. Both quickly added runs and took India over 200. It finally took Pat Cummins once again to get Pujara out for 56. This was his slowest Test 50 but one of the most effective as he put India in a commanding position.

Australia then found another wicket in Mayank Agarwal. Playing his first Test, Washington Sundar came to bat and did not disappoint by scoring a handy 22 before getting dismissed. Shardul Thakur then joined Rishabh Pant in the middle as Rishabh kept the runs coming and took India closer to the target.

Shardul was soon out and the onus was now on Pant to finish the innings which he rightly did by scoring the winning runs and helped India win a Test series in Australia for the second consecutive time. It was a historic moment as India's young brigade breached the fortress of the Australians at the Gabba after a long gap of 32 years.

India came to the Gabba Test with a highly inexperienced bowling attack that had a combined experience of four Test matches. But nothing could stop them from performing as they bowled Australia out in both innings.

Debutant Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur, who was just playing his second Test, put up a 123-run partnership in the first innings helping India score 336. Hyderabad's very own paceman, Mohammed Siraj, ran through the Australian batting line-up in the second innings and picked up his maiden five-wicket haul.

It took team effort for India to repeat what it had done in 2018 but in the absence of their crucial players such as Virat Kohli, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Hanuma Vihari, Jasprit Bumrah, and Ravichandran Ashwin.

Rishabh Pant was named the 'Man of the Match' for his match-winning 89. Australia pacer and world's number one bowler Pat Cummins was adjudged the 'Man of the Series' for his 21 wickets in the four-match series.

India will now play England at home from 5 February for 4 Tests, five T20s, and three ODIS. The first Test will be played at Chepauk in Chennai.

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