What was different for Team India in Australia as compared to England or South Africa?
- India had a disappointing series in England and South Africa. But what did they do different in Australia ?
So India finally did it! After 11 tours and 71 years! That has been a long wait. But that is why this win becomes even more cherishing. This would definitely go down as one of India's finest overseas performance.
There's no doubt that India have created history, being the only Asian team to defeat the Aussies in their backyard.
So there must be something special in this team that they achieved a feat which no Asian team could. There were so many factors which have led to their success.
An Excellent Bowling Attack
The biggest and foremost reason why India have won the series Down Under is the deadly trio of Bumrah-Shami-Ishant. They were ably supported by the spinners(Ashwin in the 1st test, Jadeja in the 3rd and Kuldeep-Jadeja in the 4th test). Even in South Africa and England the bowlers did exceptionally well. They took 20 wickets in almost all the matches except only two times in England. It was the batsmen who disappointed them. The Indian bowlers picked 261 wickets in 2018 at a paltry average of 23.54. This clearly shows how lethal this bowling attack has been.
Spearheading India's attack was the trio of Bumrah-Shami-Ishant whose persistent bowling destroyed batting line-ups. The trio took 133 wickets in 2018 among them and broke a 34-year-old record of West Indian greats Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall who had taken 130 wickets in 1984. That achievement in itself speaks volumes about their bowling performance. This shows that they are destined for greatness.
If our bowling attack keeps up these performances in future, the Indian team will enjoy many more victories abroad.
Pujara stepping up as India's new 'Wall'
If there was one player who performed consistently for India but still did not get his due credit in the last few years, it was Cheteshwar Pujara. But this time he took his batting to a new level and silenced his critics who criticized him for his strike rate. If it wasn't for Pujara, the series would have been lost in the 1st test itself. India were reeling at 41/4 and many would have written off India's chances in the series considering the batting performances in England and South Africa. But then Pujara stood like a rock for India, slowly and steadily built his innings and took India to a 200+ total.
When the need arose, he upped his strike rate and smashed Mitchel Starc and Josh Hazlewood for sixes. Thus his 123 off 246 balls helped India to put 250 on the board which was enough for the bowlers to fight.
Pujara doesn't bat, he meditates. He went on to score three hundreds in the series and amassing 521 runs, becoming the 'Man of the Series'. He faced 1258 balls breaking Dravid's record of facing 1233 balls in 2003/04 series. He is rightly the new 'Wall' of Indian cricket.
A major reason why India failed in South Africa and England is that no other batsman stepped up to support Kohli. But in this series, it was Pujara who consolidated India's innings and Kohli supported him. Pujara completely exhausted Australia's dangerous fast bowlers by leaving balls continuously outside the off stump. He also used his feet well against Nathon Lyon.
India winning more tosses in Australia
India lost the toss in the first two tests in South Africa and in all the 5 tests against England. The team winning the toss always has an advantage in test cricket. Hence the results in England and South Africa can also be attributed to bad luck with the toss. But luck finally shone for Virat & co. and India won 3 out of the 4 tosses and dominated in all the 3 games.
Many would argue that the Indian team was lucky that there was no Smith or Warner in the Australian squad. But how could they have stopped Pujara or Kohli? One could say that Smith has a great record against India and had he been there he could have piled up hundreds. But even Joe Root had a great record against India before last summer. But he struggled to score runs against India. So no matter what people say, this is a really deserved win for India.Published 09 Jan 2019, 21:24 IST