India’s dream triumph in Oz

The achievement of Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and his team goes beyond these nitpickings. India had twice won one-day series in Australia – in 1985 and 2008 – and had made a clean sweep of T20 series in 2016.

Cynics might point out to a weakened Australian batting in the absence of banned Steve Smith and David Warner but then history is made up by those who show up. And the achievement of Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and his team goes beyond these nitpickings. India had twice won one-day series in Australia – in 1985 and 2008 – and had made a clean sweep of T20 series in 2016.

A Test series win, however, had remained a mirage - for 71 years! India had conquered West Indies and England as early as 1970s with an underdog team but beating Australia in Australia had remained an impossible dream. Greater batting units and greater bowlers from India have crossed the shores Down Under over several decades but they had failed each time. The magnitude of India’s achievement can be judged from the fact that even the great Pakistani sides under Imran Khan – and with a bowling attack to die for – have come up short against the Aussies. Thus, India’s victory isn’t just for them. It’s a symbolic triumph for the entire sub-continent whose teams have always found Australia a tough nut to crack in their own conditions.

At the start of his press conference post India’s series win in Sydney, skipper Kohli said, “It was a team effort through and through. That’s what we strive for; we strive to play well as a team.” It’s not like the teams from the past played only for individual glory but what Kohli meant was coming together of batting and bowling. India, previously, have always been let down by a failure in one department. This time, though, batsmen nicely complemented an attack that’s truly world class. While Cheteshwar Pujara was a glue that held the batting together with his three centuries, the Jasprit Bumrah-led pace attack – with spinners playing their part as and when required – had the Australians in awe. And they have seen some mean attacks from West Indies and Pakistan.

While one may debate Head Coach Ravi Shastri’s claim that Test series win was bigger than the 1983 World Cup victory, what can’t be denied is the fact that each of these successes has its resonance beyond just the stat. Where the three World Cup conquests (two 50-over and one T20) gave rise to unprecedented popularity of limited-overs versions, the first Test series win Down Under, as Kohli hopes, may just be the spark needed to fire India’s future in the longest format of the game. Having drawn the three-match T20 series before their success in Tests, India also won the three-match ODI series 2-1 to return from Australia without losing a series, which was a perfect icing on the cake.

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India’s dream triumph in Oz

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