A series win in Australia after a long wait of 71 years

After a long wait of 71 years, the Indian Test side finally held aloft the trophy in Australia.


The last day of a grueling series anticlimactically ended without a ball being bowled as the rains were unrelenting at Sydney. Though the Indian side were denied the chance to go home with a 3-1 win, they will take the result of 2-1, especially after facing stern tests in South Africa and England.

 

The Man of the Series Cheteshwar Pujaraโ€™s boring batting throughout the series and the emergence of Jasprit Bumrah will undoubtedly be the highlights of the last 12 months, with important performances like Mayank Agarwalโ€™s fifties and Ajinkya Rahaneโ€™s half-centuries providing the impetus as well.

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With the covers on right from the start, it was concluded that the Test would end in a draw. However, while the side would have loved for a final day to challenge the Aussies, the boisterous crowd that stayed back in the rain to see Virat Kohli become the first Asian skipper to lift a trophy in Australia, would not have minded the final result. As the Indians pulled off a hilarious dance jig, with Rishabh Pant trying in vain to get Pujara to groove, the happy scenes and the tearful eyes back in India would have more than made up for the gloom in Sydney.

For the home side, the fact that a rain-affected day prevented them from further misfortune sums up how the series and the last 10 months has panned out for them. They did manage to level the series at Perth but were unable to get into the game thereon, with India doing well to take the lead at the MCG. They even followed-on for the first time at home in 30 years at Sydney, and it is no secret that the services of Steven Smith and David Warner is being missed dearly.

Pujara, who scored 520 runs from a record 1258 balls in four Tests was the difference between the two teams, blocking and offering the pad to more deliveries than is the norm. He ended with three centuries in the series, and stole the limelight away from Kohli, who had a phenomenal 2018 for most parts of the year.

The series that had started on a nervy note for the Indians, as they had looked tentative outside the off-stump in the first session at Adelaide, ended with a bang for the young side and years later, the image of Kohli aloft the podium with the trophy will be seen as watershed moment for cricket in India.

Brief Scores: India 622/7 dec. (Pujara 193, Pant 159*; Lyon 4-178) drew with Australia 300 (Harris 79; Kuldeep Yadav 5-99) & 6/0

 

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