AUSTRALIA. Brisbane: After getting bowled out for 36 runs exactly one month before, India registered a thrilling, incredible, and historic win against Australia in the fourth and final test match at Gabba. India won the match by three wickets and won the test series 2-1. This is India’s first win at Gabba. This win has broken Australia’s unbeaten record of 32 years. India became the first Asian nation to win the Australian series twice consecutively in their backyard. In the last series in 2018, India also won the series by 2-1.
What seemed to be an improbable task on the final day, India chased down the target of 328 runs by losing seven wickets. The Player of the match, Rishabh Pant, along with Cheteshwar Pujara and Shubhman Gill took India to the winning mark.
The partnership between Gill and Pujara
The Indian innings did not have a great start. Opening batsman Rohit Sharma nicked Tim Paine of Pat Cummins for just seven runs. After his departure, Pujara came to the crease when the score was 18 for 1. Joining Gill, The duo started to bat quite cautiously. Soon enough, Gill started to score freely. He began to time the ball and played some audacious stroke play.
In one over of Australian bowler Mitchell Starc, he scored 20 runs scoring two boundaries and one six. The pull shot was a pleasure to watch as the ball traveled around 85 meters. Supporting Gill, Pujara defended like a wall. Even after taking blow after blow on his body, Pujara never yielded to the Australian bowlers. His steely resolve was the main thorn in the Australian flesh. Pujara scored 56 runs by consuming 211 balls.
When Gill was closing to his century, he edged Nathan Lyon to first slip. Gill played a remarkable inning of 91 runs. The batting duo added 114 runs and the score read 132 for 2.
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Pant’s heroic masterclass
After losing Captain Rahane, the team score reached 167 for 3. India was in a tight situation. However, Pant’s arrival to the crease brought calm in the Indian innings. He watched the ball very closely and left a lot of balls outside the off stump. His innings showed his renewed vigor and determination. After settling down, Pant began to stroke the ball beautifully. His running between the wickets was testing Australian fielders. Pant was very quick between the wickets today as he converted ones into twos and twos into threes.
When Pujara and Mayank Aggarwal got out in quick succession, the chase looked very difficult for India. However, Pant got an able partner in Washington Sundar. Fresh from his first innings score, Sundar gave able support to Pant. Both added 52 runs in less than 9 overs. When all looked set for India, Sundar threw his wicket while trying to reverse sweep Lyon and was bold. India at that time needed 10 runs to win.
A nail-biting finish
After Sundar’s departure, Shardul Thakur came in to bat. However, his inning was short-lived when he tried to flick Josh Hazlewood and got out caught at mid-wicket. India still needed three runs to cross the winning margin with only two inexperienced batsmen remaining. It was the last ball of Hazlewood’s over. Either Pant had to score one run to retain the strike in the next over or score three winning runs. It was a heart-stopping moment for both Indian and Australian fans. Pant drove almost a full toss ball by Hazlewood to mid-off. The ball raced to the boundary and India crossed the best run chase of this century. Pant had pulled a sensational victory for India.
This win has a special significance as around six Indian crux players were either injured or not available. With a very inexperienced bowling attack and almost no middle order, Indian players had shown the characters, zeal, determination, and a very new approach. Yes, it’s new India, India now will not surrender to adversaries. India won’t yield to pressure. It’s a very new India to embrace. The whole gist was expressed aptly by Australian Coach Justin Langer, “Never, never, ever, underestimate India.”