7th January 2018 will always be remembered and celebrated as a festival by ardent Indian fans. The date made us believe that anything is possible, if you are willing to sacrifice time, energy and comfort. It took 71 years for India to crack the comfort zone bubble and conquer and every possible cricket territory. In the last one year, the Indian cricket team managed to win a test in South Africa, England and a test series in Australia.
Various legends came, dreamt of conquering the land of Kangaroos, but ended up losing miserably. Sourav Ganguly once came close of winning the maiden test series win in Australia, but only managed to level the series in 2003-04. For the next fifteen years, it was a dark night for men in blue as they showed courage to win only a single test. Then come Virat Kohli and company, boiled with confidence and streak of wins under belt to plunder the Australian cricket team.
Team India removed the tag of home track bully under the leadership of Virat Kohli and re-invented the art of winning overseas, which was lost somewhere under the captaincy of MS Dhoni. Virat Kohli is the only Indian captain to win a test in England, South Africa, West Indies and Australia. He is in a different zone playing every game to win irrespective of individual score and milestones. He has played 46 test matches as a captain, won 26 of them, lost 10 matches and the rest were draws.
The team visited Australia with lofty reputation and showed their class and attitude in the first test only. The world champions defeated the crippled Australia in the absence of key players like Steve Smith and David Warner and won the maiden test series after 71 long years.
Here are top 5 reasons why India won the historic test series in Australia after almost a century:-
Absence of Steve Smith and David Warner
The absence of Steve Smith and David Warner in the 2018-19 test series provide too costly for Australia. It has been almost a year since the duo was suspended from international cricket due to ball tampering and cheating in a game against South Africa. One can’t imagine Australia without Steve Smith and David Warner; they are the backbone of the team. Both the players have won numerous matches single handedly for the team.
Even after 1 year suspension, Steve Smith is 3rd ranked batsman in test cricket, whereas David Warner is ranked sixth in the world. The duo has an excellent batting track record against India, Steve Smith has scored 1429 runs in 10 test matches at an average of 84.06. He has smashed 7 hundreds and 3 fifties against the men in blue.
David Warner has scored 1081 runs against India in 16 test matches at an average of 36.03, which includes 4 hundreds and 3 fifties against the men in blue. The opening partners Usman Khwaja and Marcus Harris doesn’t stand a chance against these two modern day greats.
The Resurrection of Cheteshwar Pujara
There is a reason why Cheteshwar Pujara is called the next Rahul Dravid by Indian cricket fans, when every other Indian batsman loves to swing the bat, he loves to occupy the crease and grind the bowling throughout. In the recent Border Gavaskar Series, he broke the Rahul Dravid record of facing most number of deliveries in Australia; he faced a total of 1258 balls and scored 522 runs in the series including 3 hundreds.
Australia left no stones unturned in finding an effective tactic to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara, neither nor could spin stop Pujara from scoring. He has been going through the rough patch for quite a while, fans and spectators started writing off, but he resurrected like a phoenix rising from the ashes in the series. His all-round performance earned him the man of the series award in 2018-19 Border Gavaskar series.
Rishabh Pant- The Upcoming Cricket Superstar of Indian Cricket
The Indian cricket team was desperately looking for a robust wicketkeeper after the retirement of MS Dhoni. They experimented with the likes of Wriddhiman Saha and Naman Ojha, but the selectors failed miserably. Out of nowhere Rishabh Pant burst into the scene and grabbed the opportunity with both the hands. The chirpy chitchat behind the wickets was again in action, Rishabh Pant loves giving back to the opposition both with the bat and mouth.
His raw sledging, tracer bullet wicket keeping reflexes and aggressive stroke play fulfills all the requirements for wicketkeeper portfolio. He scored 350 runs in 4 test matches at an average of 58.33 including an unbeaten 159 at Sydney. He also topped the sledging charts gives Aussies the taste of their own medicine. His famous sledging episode with Tim Paine will go as one of the best banters of 21st century. The interesting trivia is both of his centuries came overseas against the top opposition like England and Australia.
Bold Decisions and Crucial Team Selection
The deadly combination of Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli took some bold and gutsy decisions to maintain the team balance. They gave plenty of opportunities to players like KL Rahul and Hanuman Vihari when required, but didn’t hesitate axing the non-performing player. Mayank Agarwal was the boldest move of the series, which was completely worth. The inclusion of Ravindra Jadeja was another bold move to fox the opposition with spin web.
Every gamble paid off except not picking a single spinner in the Perth test, which cost India the match.
Jaspreet Bumrah- The Differentiator
One has never heard Aussies praising Indian pace battery, they complimented Indian batting and spin bowling, but never pace battery. This time things and luck both changed for fast bowlers, Jaspreet Bumrah was the pick of the bowler for his unorthodox spells and magical action throughout the series. The Indian pace battery bulldozed the Australian batting order in all the four tests on crucial occasions. He was the lading wicket taker for the series.