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Australia versus India has always been a great rivalry. Often they bring excitement, thrilling and clashes between the sides.
When both sides started off playing the Test series against each other from 1947, Australia easily dominated till 1977. They won six Test series out of seven they played during that period. Finally, in 1979, India won their maiden Test series against Australia.
Since then, India started to winning series at their home. The series was renamed as “Border-Gavaskar” Trophy, named after their greats Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar, in 1996. Perhaps the most notably home series India won was in 2001, where they made an impressive comeback to win 2-1.
India then started to stretch, tried to win in Australia. They came close in 2003 (1-1) and 2007 (Australia won 2-1). Both series were heavily criticized due to umpiring standards, mostly in the 2007 series. Then India toured Australia two more times, in 2012 and 2014. They lost both series by margins of 4-0 (4) and 2-0 (4).
Finally, in the 2018 series, India created history to become the first Asian team to win series in Australia. They won the series 2-1 in an incredible run. Despite all the praises, some criticized India for winning the series without Australia’s star duo Steven Smith and David Warner. They were banned due to “ball-tampering” in South Africa tour.
India’s incredible series in 2020
The build-up to the 1st Test
Coming to the series, there was a lot of hype going on, given their history. India came to Australia full of expectations of repeating their 2018 heroics. Many fans were expecting the series to be more challenging, with Smith and Warner on the side, along with the rise of Marnus Labuschagne. The first Test was also the pink ball Test match at Adelaide.
The first Test, however, did not go to expectations for many. Despite having the first innings lead of 53, India was cheaply bowled out for 36 in their second innings. It became the highlight of the week with trolls were all coming. Australia won the match by eight wickets.
Shortly after, regular captain, Virat Kohli went home due to the birth of his child. Ajinkya Rahane was announced as the stand-in captain to lead the rest of the series. Meanwhile, many experts predicted Australia to walk-over India in the series.
The comeback in the 2nd Test
India came to Melbourne without Virat Kohli. India’s record at the MCG is their best in Test cricket in Australia. India took the lead of 131 after dismissing Australia for 191 and then scoring 326. They again bowled out Australia for 200 before winning the match comfortably by eight wickets.
Star performers were skipper Rahane, who scored 112, Jasprit Bumrah with his figures of 6-110 in the match, and the debutants Mohammad Siraj and Shubman Gill marking off.
India leveled the series 1-1, and the series was back in balanced.
The draw in the 3rd Test
Steve Smith’s 131 powered Australia to 338 and then bowlers back up to bowl the visitors out for 244. Australia took the lead of 94, and then they added 312 while declaring. They set India the target of 407 in four sessions remaining. The match was drawn by some very, very good batting by the Indian side. Rishab Pant 97 (118), Cheteshwar Pujara 77 (205), Ravi Ashwin 39* (128), and Hanuma Vihari 23* (161) batted their skins out to keep the series level.
Praises came from all around for the Indian batsmen to draw out the match, batting against the likes of Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, and Pat Cummins.
The breach of the Gabba fortress
Before they came to Gabba, the Indian team faced many issues. They were asked not to come to Brisbane because they were found to have dinner in a group with a fellow fan. Injuries took over Bumrah, Ashwin, Jadeja. Young boys T. Natarajan and Washington Sundar both made their Test debuts. The match eventually goes as planned.
Australia had not lost a Test at Gabba in 32 years. Batted first, they put on 369 and had restricted India to 180-6. Shardul Thakur and Washington Sundar carried their side to 336 with their maiden fifties. Having the lead of just 36, Australia batted quickly to post 294, setting India the target of 329.
In the magnificent turn of the events, India chased it down with three wickets. Rishab Pant once again starred in the chase with his beautiful innings of 89* along with Shubman Gill’s 91 and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 56 to win the series 2-1.
Given the position they were in, India made a remarkable comeback. They were racially abused, injuries took over, and their star player Virat Kohli was not available. They were bowled out for 36 in the first Test match, which made many experts believed that India would be rolled over this series. But the temperament, the attitude of not giving up simply summed up India’s performance from the second Test onwards.
This will go down as one of the greatest coming-from-behind Test series wins.
Read more: Washington Sundar – India’s future wonder
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