India’s Tour of Australia 2020-21: The Test of Bests Defining Team Spirit

After being thrashed out in Adelaide in the D/N affair, India had made an excellent comeback to win the series and broke Australia’s fortress Gaba.

In the jungle when a tiger and a lion get themselves in a fight, rarely one could find someone coming in front easily. In one side, there is the proud and glory of the nation whereas the other hand is the power, sitting in the highest platform of his kingdom. More than who comes first, it’s about the skills, tactics, mindsets physically and mentally, coming back against all the opposition attacks. This is such a wonderful fight occurs when two giants of World Cricket come against each other.

There was so much going about the series since India won it 2-1 in the previous occasion; with Smith & Warner, two strong pillars of the team are back this time around what will make it a little tough but this is what makes test cricket so exciting. The pandemic had seen some clouds over the fixtures but the bumper announcement of the summer was just playing waiting game with all the fans.

After the end of the IPL, the Indian team departed for Australia where all the players required to go through hard quarantine and entered a new bio-bubble. Yes, there were three ODIs, which the home team won by 2-1 but the confidence that the blue brigade received in the dead-rubber, it helped them to gain victory in the T-20s.

The Horror Of Adelaide Night Mare

Now, it’s time for the get up of the biggest series 2020, The Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Meanwhile, Indian captain Virat Kohli was to leave after the historical day-night Adelaide test for the birth of his first child and the Kangaroos scent it as a great chance to bring the trophy back. But with that skillful bowling lineup, you are always in the game. All in all; surely, we are up for something special.It was the usual Adelaide pitch that’s been connected with a bit fairy-tale moment of Indian Cricket.

The visitors had started a new trend of announcing the team on the eve of the game which saw Wriddhiman Saha getting the nose ahead of Pant because of his keeping skills. Virat Kohli winning the toss opted to bat first against the attack that consist of Strac, Cummins, Hazlewood and Lyon. It didn’t take too long for Strac to rattle the stumps of Prithvi Shaw and when Cummins brilliance got the better of Agarwal, it brought Pujara & Kohli. Being in the receiving end against Pujara, they knew the challenge and the man on the other end; well it will be time waste to speak about how much important he is for his side.

Both the different poles began their own job and took Ind to 100. After Pujara’s wicket, Rahane & Kohli was setting a big total but an unfortunate run-out of Kohli saw the last 7 Indians going to the dressing room for just 56-runs. Australia did start well but when Steve Smith, who rarely got out to India, went for 1, the Kangaroos were struggling. But a great fighting knock of 73 by captain Tim Paine with some help of Labuschagne, they reduced the trail margin to 53-runs.

At the start of the third day, India was thinking about 300 lead or giving Australia a bat against the new ball under lights or batting for how many times; but suddenly something happens and it was like batsmen were coming and going. In just the blink of an eye, they were folded up for just 36, their lowest in the format, handing the home team an unexpecting 8-wicket win.

Getting The Proud Back at ‘G’:

There we are, team is blown away in 36 and your captain is departing. Suddenly, all the media around the world wrote off the Indians but as I say meanwhile ago, it’s about making a comeback in fashion, testing your determination and temperament.Yes, India had been jolted last week by the home side, but more than their batting, the attack was the news of ruling out Mohammad Shami, one of the key members of the bowling group.

None the less, unchanged Australia choose to bat on a slightly greenish pitch with an aim of getting a big score on the board. But, opening failure with out of form smith and a unstable middle order had no answer against Bumrah, Ashwin and Siraj, who made his debut in the Boxing day test. 48 of Marnus and 10 less of it by Head gave their bowlers a chance to expose the already broken Indian batting line-up.

India got a new opener in debutant Shubman Gill who missed a deserving 50.  Wickets were falling from one end with everyone missed out getting set but stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane stood tall and brought up an extra-ordinary hundred getting some help from Australia’s poor fielding in a 121-run partnership with Ravindra Jadeja who score a well made half century giving their team a surprising lead of 131-run.

India won the Boxing Day Test:

The kangaroos were still turning pages of the cricket book to find ways to play the bowling attack of India. Just 5 more from their 1st innings and Australia were bundle out throwing India a 70-run target hoping to bring the Adelaide ghost back. With 19-2, the hearts were still pumping and bloods were flowing fast but present and future star of the Indian Cricket ensured of getting the proud back winning 4th test in the iconic stadium.

This will go down as one of India’s memorable test wins. Winning a test in Australia is always special but to do so given the wounds of Adelaide and the absence of key players make it one for the ages. Tweeted the Voice of Cricket.

There was a bit of news coming from the country with the off-field incidents started to grow up. 5 players were stated to go to a restaurant breaching the COVID protocols; although Cricket Australia after some investigation had taken their charges back.

India Shows Fight, Fight & Fight at Sydney:

Just week ago, Australia was enjoying their fabulous victory against the Indians and already kept one hand on the trophy and suddenly losing in the MCG, they were looking hopeless as they brought a half fit David Warner in the team with debutant Will Pucovski whereas IND woes of injury went up losing Umesh Yadav; they were boosted by arrival of Rohit Sharma and debutant Navdeep Saini.

After the early wicket of Warner, the Aussies settled well with the debutant making 50 and 90-odd by Labuschagne. It’s 2021 and it seemed like Steve Smith got his hands back as he notched up another hundred in armory. At one stage, the home side was set for posting a big total but this series is about making comeback as India stopped the oppositions on 338. Last match debutant opener got another 50 along with Pujara. But, no one could go for a big one as the blue army were folded up by 244. Australia with an aim of giving their bowlers enough time of exposing the Indians in the last innings, batted fast with the same two, Smith & Marnus, gave a great platform. Cris Green 84* in quick time mean India need to chase 407 or batted for 132 overs for a draw.

The visitors had started really well with 71 run opening partnership but yes you know the word come-back was so regular in this series as Australia took 2 wickets to bring the equation in 8 wickets in the last 98overs.

It became worse with Lyon getting captain and last match hero, Ajinkya Rahane in the second over of the day which Pujara and Pant, two opposite poles. The 148-run partnership between this those two was totally eye-pleasing where pant was writing a new script of Indian win. After an unfortunate dismissal of Pant and Pujara later on, it seemed like Australia would break their dream.

Vihari-Ashwin Saved India:

But again, the Indians got two new hero. In one end Ashwin who was struggling with his back and Hanuma Vihari with his hamstring injury. Both were absorbing the pressure, taking hits on the arms, chests, heads and allover their body just with a stable aim of giving their team the best finish. They batted for 43-odd overs and ensured that it will be an exciting end of the series going into the Gabba.

There were more off the field news coming from Australia as the Indians were not happy with their hotel and so on. So, all those had made it an exciting end to the bumper series.

Indian Believe Breaches The Gabba Fortress

The only constant of the series was Injury of the Indians and the list received two big, huge, or use any adjective blows going into Gabba as the last recognized pacer Bumrah and all-rounder Jadeja were ruled out of the test. The list hadn’t end here as two frontline heroes Ashwin and Vihari were also out of the team. It meant Shardul Thakur, Washington Sundar, T Natarajan would be making their debut and Siraj with an experience of 2 test would be the leader of the attack. It was the landmark test for Nathan Lyon, the G.O.A.T, who was playing his 100th test match on 397 wickets.

The home side winning the toss opted to bat with keeping an eye on the heavens. It wasn’t a great start again but no matter how bad it was, the two cricketing brothers, Smith and Labuscgange, repaired the innings with the latter went on to make his hundred. Honestly, some of the dismissal was so cheap and poor. So, against an inexperienced Indian bowling lineup, the mighty Australians were folded up for just 369 with some help from the bowlers with the stick.

The Indian innings were going nicely but everyone was throwing their wickets at regular intervals after getting a start. Just when the Aussies thought of getting a big lead, you know what happen!! COME BACK FROM THE INDIANS!! A Century partnership between Sundar and Thakur dropped water on Australian hope. With a 33-run lead Australia started their innings aggressively as the forecast on day 4 wasn’t looking great.

The bowling again came strong as a unit. I had never thought that an Australian opener will get out ducking a bouncer from an Indian bowler but then I saw Marcus Haris. The ball that got Smith out would be a concern for the Indians who would bat last on a day 5 Gabba pitch. Australia batted long and gave India a 328-run target.

The World wasn’t Ready For That:

Now, the Indians had two ways in front them; win the game by chasing in a ground where 236 was the successful chase, where Australia hadn’t lost for the last 33-years or batted for 100 overs to ensure a draw and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy where Australia have to win it to get the trophy back.From the start of the Indian innings on the last day, one thing was certain that they were going for the victory. In one end, Pujara was walking on his own streets and a young Gill was playing shots to take India to 132. But unfortunately, he got out on 9 shot from what could be the best knock of the series. Rahane came and started to take charge. His wicket brought Rishav Pant, whose 89* at a nice pace with Sundar’s innings gave India an unbelievable win.

We may haven’t talked a lot about Pujara but the blows he took from the Aussies spoke about his hard mindset. “Pujara might have broken a finger, but his spirit is invincible.” 

The whole Tour in Brief:

The young Indian team composed a new chapter and don’t know should I say it or not but this win could be more fascinating than the 2018 series. There was Warner and Smith in the position and none gave India a chance after the 36 record and losing so many high-level players would make it worse enough. 

But this team showed high level skill and the power of team spirit and fight-back. It’s never easy to lead a team after what happen in Adelaide and went on to win the series is mind-blowing. Coming into your 3rd game and lead an attack is the hardest job for any bowler. But truly, tell me one thing have you given this side any chance of winning the series after the opening Horror??

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