India make history, win maiden Test series in Australia

Final day’s play called without a ball being bowled

The Indian cricket team and staff pose for a photograph ahead of play on day five of the fourth test match between Australia and India at the SCG in Sydney, Australia, January 7, 2019. REUTERS

India waited for this moment for 71 years and when it finally arrived, it did so in the most underwhelming of atmospheres you can imagine for a victory of this magnitude. There were no screams of delight and there was no grabbing of stumps. Gloomy weather and an empty stadium hardly made for an ideal background for what is easily India’s most significant achievement in its cricketing history.

At 2.30 pm local time, after umpires met both teams in their dressing rooms to convey the message, the giant screen at the stadium flashed the abandonment of play followed by India win the series 2-1. Shortly after, skipper Virat Kohli and his triumphant men went out and acknowledged a few hundred Indian supporters scattered across the stadium. And with that India had quietly grabbed a piece of history after a month-long gripping cricket.   

A persistent drizzle ensured no play on the final day of the fourth Test, helping Australia, who were 6/0 after being forced to follow on, escape with a face-saving draw here at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday. After posting a mammoth 622/7 declared, India had bowled out Australia for 300 in the first innings asking the hosts to bat again. The hosts were 6/0 in four overs after following-on when umpires dragged the players off the field due to bad light on Sunday’s fourth day never to return. It’s difficult to imagine any other result other than a win for India had they got a full day’s play to bowl but then nature isn’t at anyone’s mercy. Only 107 minutes of play was possible on the last two days with all the action happening on the fourth afternoon.


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With no letup in drizzle which only got heavier after an early lunch, players remained confined to their rooms. It must have been an agonising wait to know what they already knew. Everyone was convinced that there was no play possible, and even if there was, it would have served little purpose. But then playing conditions meant that they had to wait four and half hours to uncork the champagne.

There’s, of course, a difference between winning a series 3-1 and 2-1. Where one suggests thorough domination of the winning team, the other one leaves a room for analytics. After a month-long gripping Test cricket, the end result may say India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1 but it could well have been 3-1 with a little bit of cooperation from the elements. It’s indeed a shame that inclement weather denied them a shot at the win but even the mighty nature couldn’t, however, keep them away from their tryst with history – a maiden series win Down Under.

        

SCORE BOARD

INDIA (I Innnings): 622/7 decl

AUSTRALIA (I Innings; O/n: 236/6):

Harris b Jadeja 79

(120b, 8x4)

Khawaja c Pujara b Kuldeep 27

(71b, 3x4)

Labuschagne c Rahane b Shami 38

(95b, 7x4)

S Marsh c Rahane b Jadeja 8

(13b, 2x4)

Head c & b Kuldeep 20

(56b, 2x4)

Handscomb b Bumrah 37

(111b, 5x4)

Paine b Kuldeep 5

(14b, 1x4)

Cummins b Shami 25

(44b, 6x4)

Starc (not out) 29

(55b, 3x4)

Lyon lbw Kuldeep 0

(5b)

Hazlewood lbw Kuldeep 21

(45b, 2x4)

Extras (B-4, LB-2, W-5) 11

Total (all out, 104.5 overs) 300

Bowling: Shami 19-2-58-2, Bumrah 21-5-62-1 (w-5), Jadeja 32-11-73-2, Kuldeep 31.5-6-99-5, Vihari 1-0-2-0.

Result: India win the series 2-1

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India make history, win maiden Test series in Australia

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