A fitting finale to a historic series which had the highest level of test cricket to offer. It was a game which had it all from the get go. The Indian Team had come to this game with a whole lot of injuries and included two debutants: Washington Sundar and Natrajan, who completed a very VERY inexperienced bowling attack. On the other hand Australia were playing at their ‘fortress’, Gabba, where they last lost a test match 32 years ago. It was clear who were the favourites going into this match.
THE SMITH-LABUSCHAGNE BROMANCE
The Indian bowlers must have been hating the sight of these two together on the pitch by now. They have stitched some mammoth partnerships throughout the series and this time around it was no different. In the first innings Australia lost their openers cheaply but then came Smith and Labuschagne who scored 108 and 36 respectively. Labuschagne’s inning was a big blow for India as Australia reached a monumental total of 369 but what followed was no less than magical.
FIGHT FROM THE NEW BOYS
Trailing by a score this big, India needed some good partnerships up the order but that never happened, and soon India were 186/6. But then came Shardul and Washington who had other plans and were ready to show the world that India’s tail filled with new boys weren’t ready to back out just yet. Two amazing knocks of 62 from Shardul and 67 from Washington and a partnership of 123 runs between them steered India to a total of 336 and leaving Australia with a lead of just 33 runs.
THE SIRAJ-SHARDUL SHOW
The openers got Australia off to a flyer but the grit shown by the young pace attack was really commendable. They fought back by taking wickets at regular intervals and also getting the ever dangerous Labuschagne out cheaply. Siraj and Shardul were the stars of that innings as they got 5 and 4 wickets respectively. This really set the tone for the game and it boosted Team India’s morale going into the final innings.
India needed to chase down a target of 328 in 100 overs. This was going to be one tough chase and everyone was aware of that. With the young guns India had, it was never a doubt that this team will try and chase the score and will not go for the draw from the starting. The intent was clear from the get go, as Gill did not shy away from playing shots even after an early dismissal of Rohit Sharma. On the other hand he had Pujara with him on the crease who was standing there like a brick wall, not ready to give up anytime soon, maybe that was what gave the other batsman a lot of confidence to play their shots. Gill on 91 was looking set to get his first ever test century but that didn’t happen as he got out to a peach of a delivery from Lyon and soon after that India had to deal with the dismissal of Rahane. After two quick fire wickets India were well and truly put on the back foot. With India needing another 161 runs, Pant and Pujara had to stitch a brilliant partnership to give themselves any chance of winning this game and so they did. An exceptional Innings from Pant at a brilliant strike rate got India closer to the target. The stage was set for a finale of dreams as India needed 100 runs of the last 20 overs but then Pujara got out and the game was in balance again. But Pant did not give up even under extreme pressure, he chose his shots correctly and made sure he plays an outstanding 89 runs inning to steer India to a famous victory at the Gabba and a back to back Border Gavaskar Trophy victory.
This match was one to remember for ever Indian cricket fan. A game stitched in the memory forever, a series where India faced so many difficulties but always came out on top. This team that will always be remembered as the team with grit, character and warrior mentality. All this was stuff of dreams and this team made it all possible. All we could say is we’re extremely proud of this team!