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Australia vs India 2018-19: What we learned from the historic series

CONTRIBUTOR
Feature
434   //    22 Jan 2019, 01:04 IST

The Indian team after their victory over Australia
The Indian team after their victory over Australia

It is not Virat Kohli’s success that surprises you. It is, in fact, the man’s mediocre performances that do.

By no terms was the Test series against Australia a bad one for him. But it is Virat Kohli! You almost expect him to score a hundred every time he walks in to bat for the country.

Kohli finished as the third highest run-getter for the series, at an average of 40.29. Cheteshwar Pujara literally owned the series, putting up a staggering 521 runs on the board against his name; the Aussies just couldn’t get him out.

Nathan Lyon seemed to speak for all the Aussies when he asked the No. 3 batsman, “Aren’t you bored yet mate?” 

It wasn’t astonishing that Pujara finished at the top; he was due for a big one. But if someone was to tell me that Rishabh Pant would end the series as the second highest scorer, I would have laughed him off.

It was that kind of a series though, wasn’t it? Who would have thought 30 years ago that an Indian team would tour Australia, and not only start the series as favourites, but also completely dominate?

Yes, it was a weak Aussie batting side, no doubt. But India still had to put up those runs on the board against a world class bowling unit.

It isn’t the batsmen who win you tests though; you still have to take 20 wickets. The bowlers in general, and Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammad Shami, in particular, were the standouts.

Running in on hard tracks and taking 70 wickets is no mean task. The pacers showed immense resilience and endurance to last the four Tests, and spending days in hot, unfavorable conditions.

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The emergence of Mayank Agarwal was probably India’s greatest gain from the trip. He literally knocked the door down with his performances in the domestic season.

It’s not easy anyway to make your debut in Australia, away from home, but to do it on Boxing Day in front of about one-tenth of a million people is huge. You realize the enormity of it all when you step in and reality sinks in. There are a hundred thousand people out there!

The nerves are jangling around. You tend to play a shot that you are not supposed to. You chase a wide ball outside off stump. Get beaten a couple of times. Lose your wicket early.

But not Mayank Agarwal. A drive through covers, a loft over mid on, and it’s an easy game.

In Agarwal, India have found a mainstay at the top. Imagine what it would be like to have Prithvi Shaw at the other end!

History was created at the SCG, when the Indians lifted the Border-Gavaskar trophy for the first time in Australia. True emotions flew in Sydney.

The skipper rated this victory as more special than the World Cup win, which was quite a thing to say. The series was definitely one for the record books.

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