India registers maiden Test series win in Australia
Former Australia captain Ian Chappell feels the Virat Kohli-led side is India’s best in pace bowling and fielding but it is nowhere close to being the best in batting. India defeated Australia 2-1 for their maiden Test series triumph Down Under, ending a 71year wait.
The historic victory has garnered widespread praise for Kohli’s men with several former players lauding the gritty performance. Asked if this was the best Indian team of all time on ‘eSPNCricinfo’, Chappell said, “This Indian side is the best fast bowling contingent I have seen from India and the best fielding side that I have seen from India.”
“But it’s not the best batting side. I have seen better batting combinations from India than this team,” he added, but did not dwell on which batting line-up he considered the best. Although Cheteshwar Pujara was adjudged man of the series for being the series’ top-scorer, India’s traditionally much-vaunted batting was, for once, overshadowed by the team’s pacers. The Indian pacers accounted for 50 of the 70 Australian wickets during the engagement.
The visiting pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami combined for an average of 21.62 in the four-match series, while Australia’s pace battery, comprising Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, averaged over 30. Chappell said the Indian bowlers did well to exploit the conditions. “I thought the Indian bowlers did really well and overall they out-bowled the Australians. They got more swing than the Australian bowlers. “I think the seam position of the Indian fast bowlers was very good. They kept it up the whole time and perhaps that’s why they swung the ball more than the Australians,” he explained.
India’s top run accumulator Cheteshwar Pujara Monday described the current team which clinched the country’s maiden Test series win in Australia as the best he has been a part of with lethal bowling attack complementing the batting. Pujara, who scored 521 runs at an average of 74 with the help of three hundreds, was named Player of the Series in the historic series win.
“It’s a great feeling for all of us. We’ve been working hard to win a series overseas, and winning in Australia has never been easy. This is the best Indian side I have been part of. I would like to congratulate the team,” he said after India clinched the four-match series 2-1.
The fourth and final Test at the SCG ended in a draw after the fifth day’s play was abandoned due to persistent rain. India clinched the series 2-1, ending a 71-year-old long wait of winning a Test series on Australian soil. The 30-yearold Pujara was all praise for the bowling attack. “We’ve had four bowlers, and it’s not easy taking 20 wickets, so credit goes to all our fast bowlers and spinners…It is remarkable,” he said.
Asked about his tremendous form in the Test series, Pujara said, “I am really pleased with my contribution. As a batsman, I was just getting used to the pace and bounce. “Apart from that, playing in South Africa and england has helped me improve my technique. For me, it’s all about preparation and I was very well prepared.”
He said his first hundred of the series in Adelaide was special. “Scoring a ton at Adelaide and going 1-0 up is what we were aiming for.” On his future plans, he said, “I’ll be playing some first-class cricket back home, and I’ll play some county cricket during the IPL. “The next Test series is some 6-7 months away, it’ll give me some time to prepare. I would like to play white-ball cricket, but Test cricket is my priority, and it always be so.”
Australian captain Tim Paine admitted his side was outplayed by a superior team and India deserved to win the series. “Have to tip our hat to India, we know how tough it is to win in India so congrats to Virat and Ravi because it’s a huge achievement. They deserve to win the series. “We are disappointed, definitely over the last two Tests. We had our chances in Adelaide, in Perth I thought we played some good cricket, but in Melbourne and Sydney, we’ve been outplayed,” the home team captain said.
(With inputs from The Pioneer)