The Indian team celebrates a 2-1 series victory over Australia following play being abandoned on day five in the fourth test match between Australia and India at the SCG in Sydney,
Having let slip the advantage in Perth after a hard-fought win in Adelaide, India got it right in the remaining two Tests winning in Melbourne and drawing the final.
And with that India took a slice of history with them with their maiden 2-1 win
India captain Virat Kohli termed his team’s historic 2-1 series win on Australian soil as his “biggest achievement” which will give the current team a “different identity”.
Eight summers back at the Wankhede, Kohli was the youngest member of a star-studded team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni which lifted the World Cup but this according to him will remain on “top of the pile”.
“By far this is my best achievement. Has to be on top of the pile. When we won the World Cup, I was a young player. I saw the others getting emotional.
This series will give us a different identity as a team. What we’ve been able to achieve is something to be really proud of,” Kohli said at the post-match presentation ceremony.
From Cheteshwar Pujara’s superlative batting to exceptional show of fast bowlers, several factors shaped India’s victory. the key factors that decided the historic achievements are :
The right-hander set the tone for the series with a century and a half-century in India’s 31-run win in the opener in Adelaide. Awarded the man of the match for his effort, Puajara set the template for batting on these pitches that even Virat Kohli had to acknowledge and adopt.
The Saurashtra batsman scored two more centuries to tally 521 runs for the series, the most by any batsman on either side, at an average of 74.42 that made him more valuable batsman than his skipper Kohli.
He was rightly adjudged as the man of the series for making the biggest difference in India’s historic win.
Accurately line by fast bowlers
With batting coming to party in Australia, the Indian quicks looked even more lethal. Jasprit Bumrah (21 wickets), Mohammad Shami (16), Ishant Sharma (11) and Umesh Yadav (2) claimed 50 Australian wickets between them, making Australian batsmen quake in their boots.
They bowled consistently fast, nagging lines and lengths to leave a big impact on the outcome of the series. Where Indian pacers received plenty of praise, the much-hyped Aussie quicks copped a lot of flak.
Captains often play down toss factor as crucial to outcomes but on difficult pitches with potential for deterioration, it’s important to bat first when the conditions are best for batting. India won three tosses on the tour won two of them and dominated the other one. Australia won the toss in Perth and won the lone match of the series.
Change at the top order
After K L Rahul and M Vijay let the team down badly with dismal shows in the first two Tests, India summoned the services of Mayank Agarwal who flew down to Melbourne during the long gap between the end of the second Test and the commencement of the third.
India sacked both first-choice openers in a radical step, gave a debut to Agarwal and gambled with Hanuma Vihari as the make-shift opener. Vihari didn’t score much but spent more than 18 overs seeing off the new ball while Agarwal trailed a new blaze with a sparkling 76.
That gave India the right platform to build on strengths. Agarwal notched up 42 in the second innings, the highest Indian score in the innings, and struck another half-century (77) at the SCG in the final Test as India thrived on a confident start.
The captain Role
Kohli is an excellent batsman and an emotional captain, but his passion often made him overlook prudence – be it his choice of players or bowling changes or sometimes field placements. On this trip, he appeared to have made some progress.
Some of the field changes that resulted in immediate wickets also reflected his growing cricketing acumen and showed that he was flexible with ideas and not rigid with set plans. And even though his batting was cold by his standards, he was the third highest run-maker with 282.