INDIA’S thrilling win in the Brisbane Test, which sealed a 2-1 series victory over Australia, would rank very high on the list of the national cricket team’s greatest triumphs. In a game that saw several rookies rise to the challenge, Rishabh Pant, with 89 runs, was the standout performer on Day 5. But the chase of 328 had been initiated by the exciting young Shubman Gill, who scored a brilliant 91; the rock-solid Cheteshwar Pujara, who took 12 blows to his body but carried on with great courage, gave the others the confidence to go for their shots; Washington Sundar, a 21-year-old debutant, chipped in with crucial runs in the end. Fittingly, it was Pant who scored the winning runs, with only 3 overs left to be bowled, to the delight of the Indian supporters who continued to troop into the stadium through the day.
India’s second consecutive Test series win in Australia is probably the team’s greatest series triumph. This come-from-behind win was achieved in possibly the toughest country to tour, with a second-string bowling attack. The challenges India faced were unprecedented and seemingly insurmountable — exactly a month ago, on December 19, the team was in ruins, bowled out for 36 to lose the first Test in Adelaide inside three days. Immediately after that, Virat Kohli, the team’s best batsman and captain, left for India on paternity leave.
Yet Ajinkya Rahane, whose understated manner and smart captaincy have been a revelation, led India to victory in the second Test at Melbourne. The players raised their game further when they survived the fifth day of the Sydney Test to escape with an unlikely draw. And now this triumph at the Gabba stadium, where Australia hadn’t lost since 1988! Rahane, showing courage, decided to go for the win even though the team would have retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a draw. The resilience and fearlessness they showed in the last three Tests is unmatched in the annals of the team’s tours, dating right back to 1932. The future looks good, but now is the time to applaud the indomitable spirit of this bunch of fearless men.