On the 19th of January, 2021 will forever be etched in the minds of Indian cricket fans. The Aussies had set up a difficult target on the 5th and final day of the 4th test. The Indian Batsmen Shubhman Gill, Rishabh Pant, and Cheteshwar Pujara led the chase in the fourth innings with Rishabh Pant scoring an unbeaten 89.
This marks the successful win of a Test series in Australia for India, and they retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. This test series has been quite a scintillating watch for the fans, to say the least. The sheer range of scores, emotions, and excitements that were encompassed in this test series is mind-boggling; with every match breaking records in different ways.
A Tough Series
This was an extremely tough series for both the teams. The viewers witnessed tough fights in all the four matches. The very first match was won by Australia by eight wickets, with India slumping to 36 in the third innings.
The departure of two of its star players, Virat Kohli and Mohammad Shami, had led to multiple predictions; and former English captain Michael Vaughan predicting a whitewash. Therefore, under the captaincy of Ajinkya Rahane were able to script a fairy tale turnaround in the second test match and won it by eight wickets.
The bowlers, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Siraj put up brilliant performances as did Rahane, who scored a century. The third test was a draw. Australia clinched most of the sessions of the test match. But Ravichandran Ashwin and Hanuma Vihari put up brilliant performances to draw the test. Many appreciated their resilience and grit; especially given that both of them were injured and were ruled out of the next test.
Therefore, the Indian side lost multiple players to injuries throughout the series, including pacemen Mohammad Shami, Umesh Yadav, allrounder Ravichandran Ashwin, and batsman Hanuma Vihari. By the last test, India was left with a relatively inexperienced squad to choose from. India had a dismal record at the Gabba. It had lost five of the six matches it had played and drawn one.
On the other hand, the hosts had an impeccable record at the Gabba. The chances were therefore tilted in favour of Australia in the fourth test match.
Despite its record at the Gabba. India did not lose its cool on the field to concede the test match to Australia. This probably made a huge difference. From the beginning, India was intent on playing attacking cricket. India was able to restrict Australia to 369 in the first innings.
Therefore, In the second innings, the team was able to put up a vital partnership in the sixth wicket, thanks to the performances of debutant off-spinning all-rounder Washington Sundar and pace bowler Shardul Thakur. Mohammad Siraj picked up a five-for 73 in the third innings and the Australian innings ended at 294.
Rishabh Pant ‘Miracle’
In the fourth innings, India was given a target of 329 runs. Opening batsman Shubhman Gill scored a brilliant 91 while Pujara anchored the innings with a vital 56. Rahane and Sundar could not capitalise on their respective starts but did add vital runs.
Rishabh Pant saw the team through the rest of the innings, and ensured victory with his brilliant 89 off 138 balls. He brought up his half-century off 100 balls but then accelerated his innings gradually after that. Pant has been known for being a player who bats fearlessly regardless of the conditions and that was what he did in this match as well.
He fearlessly hit Lyon for sixes, took chances to strike fours off the balls of an Australian attack comprising the best bowlers of the world – Josh Hazelwood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc. Cummins has a habit of bowling unplayable deliveries and Pujara had been peppered with bouncers all throughout his innings.
Despite that, Rishabh Pant stood his ground. Pujara, Agarwal, Sundar, and Thakur departed one after the other while Pant kept on playing his own game. At the end; India was left with only three wickets and a handful of runs to score with only a few overs remaining. Rishabh Pant calmly steered India to victory, hitting a four to bring up the scoring runs.
The fourth test match has brought an end to a well-played test match series. The series shows how test matches are still relevant and can be as exciting as any other format of the game. Therefore, with more such test matches, one can only hope for more and more exciting cricket games to be played in the future.