India vs Australia, 4th Test: How India turned a draw into a win against Australia at the impossible Gabba.
India began the Australian tour on the 27th of November 2020 just 17 days after the IPL. India lost the ODI series 1-2 but won the T20 series 2-1. Both teams had won 3 matches each in the limited-overs fixtures and it was properly set up for the test series. India played 2 practice matches under the leadership of Ajinkya Rahane before the test series in which they performed well in both the matches, Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, and Hanuma Vihari scored centuries of warm-up matches and all the bowlers looked in good shape before the big test series.
The first test match of the Border–Gavaskar Trophy series was a day and night(pink ball) test match that began on December 17th Adelaide Oval. Virat Kohli won the toss and opted to bat and India didn’t get off to a good start as they lost Prithvi Shaw in the very first over and Mayank Agarwal was also out soon after, later Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli steadied the ship with a vital 68 run partnership but Pujara fell after scoring 43(160).
In came Ajinkya Rahane along with Virat Kohli played good shots and both looked comfortable at the crease before which a disaster happened as Rahane sold Kohli down the river, calling for a run which never there for taking at that point India was 188- 4 once Kohli’s wicket fell the whole Indian batting started to collapse and were eventually bowled out for 244. India performed very well with the ball as they restricted Australia for 191 thanks to some very good bowling from Umesh, Burmah and especially Ashwin who picked the very important wicket of steve smith, Australia thanks to their captain Tim Paine’s vital 73 down the order and Marnus Labuschagne’s 47 at the top and quite a few drops catches from Indians were just 53 behind India’s first innings score.
India came out to bat for the second time just 20 minutes before the end of the second day’s play and once again lost shaw in the very first over in came the night watchman Burmah and defended quite well, India and Burmah were all smiles after second days play but nobody knew what was to follow on day 3. India began day 3 with a couple of boundaries, But then came Cummins, and then came Hazlewood, and there went those plans down the drain it was a controlled seam bowling absolutely relentless, finding the nicks almost every other delivery to skittle the visitors for 36.
This was India’s Lowest ever Test score. The first time none of their batsmen got into double figures. Nine wickets lost in around 100 minutes. And then as if things could get any better, Joe Burns helped himself to a fifty En route the 90-run target as the hosts rattled home.
Tim Paine for his vital 73 was named player of the match. Things couldn’t get wore worse for team India as Mohammed Shami was ruled out for the remainder of the series as he suffered a wrist fracture and Virat Kohli had to flew back to India for the birth of his child and was not available for the reminder of the series.
India made four changes for the Boxing day test bringing in Rishabh Pant, Shubman Gill, Ravindra Jadeja and Mohammed Siraj for Wriddhiman Saha, Prithvi Shaw, Mohammed Shami and Virat Kohli respectively. India had a new captain Ajinkya Rahane for the reminder of the series, India had not lost the last 3 matches under his leadership on the other hand Australia went in with same team. Australia won the toss in the second test at Melbourne and opted to bat first, everybody after Adelaide test thought this would end up as usual Australia destroying the visitors and win the series 4-0 But Indian’s were not going down easily which was clearly evident in India’s day one performance. Australia’s openers fell early and ashwin once again picked up the huge wicket of steve smith and ended with figures of (24-7-35-3) along with ashwin bumrah picked up four wickets to bowl out Australia for just 195.
India came out to bat with very high confidence but opener agarwal was out early but the debutante gill played some amazing shots for his 45. India were 61-2 when rahane came to the crease after the disastrous run out in the first test rahane had to score runs to prove himself. After being out of form to leading from the front as the stand-in skipper, Ajinkya Rahane smashed his 12th century on Day 2 of the second Test, India finished with a first innings score of 326 and were 126 runs ahead.
In the second innings once Again Australia did not have good outing with the bat as nobody in the team scored a half century and eventually they were bowled out for 200 thanks to disciplined bowling from the Indians. India had to chase just 70 in the second innings, a couple of early wickets and every Indian cricket fan was worried again as 36 was still fresh in their memory but this time things were different as skipper rahane and gill bated through and chased down the target without any further wicket loss. Rahane for his outstanding century and valuable Runs in second innings was named player of the match.
This was Indias first win away from home when they have fielded first since Aug 2010 when they beat Sri Lanka by five wickets at Colombo PSS. First, defeat in a home Test for Australia after winning the toss since the seven-run defeat to NZ in Hobart in 2011/12.
The injury list of Indian players grew as umesh yadav was ruled out for the series after sustaining a calf injury but Rohit Sharma who had finished is quarantine was available for the third test. The third test began on January 7 the 2021 at Sydney Cricket Ground in which Australia won the toss and opt to bat.
Australia had new opening pair David Warner and Will Pucovski, warner fell early thanks to a beautiful delivery from siraj, pucovski and labuschagne bated very well and started to take the game away from India, pucovski bought up his madin half century and got out, in came steve smith who up to this point had disappointing series he along with labuschange built a solid partnership, labuschange fell after scoring 91 but steve smith continued bating and bought up a well deserved century. Thanks to some very good bowling and regular wickets in the middle overs from jadeja and bumrah Australia were not allowed to get a big score, smith along with the tailenders scored some very quick runs but he was dismissed run out from a very very good throw from jadeja and Australia finished with a first innings score of 338.
India’s new opening pair bated very well and scored quick runs and soon bought up the fifty partnership. This is the first time Indias openers had lasted 20 overs in a Test outside Asia since Sehwag & Gambhir played out 29.3 overs in the second innings of the Centurion Test in Dec 2010. After a good start both the openers fell quickly, pujara scored a slow half century but feel soon after it. Australians bowled very well in the middle overs by taking regular wickets and once they took the second new ball Indian tailenders had no chance and soon India was bowled out for 244 giving Australia a huge lead of 94.
Once again Australia bated very well in the second innings contributions from steve smith(81), labuschagne(73), green(84) helped them reach 312 after which they declared leaving India to chase a mammoth 405. Australia had 131 overs to bowl out India. Once again India got off to a good start as openers bought up another half century stand, the first wicket of gill fell at the score of 71 and soon rohith also departed, at the end of days play India were 98-2 leaving India to get 307 and Australia had to get 8 more wickets.
One the final day of test skipper rahane fell early and in came rishabh pant instead of hanuma vihari along with pujara pant started his innings slowly scoring 4 runs from 37 balls, but soon he changed gears and took the attack back to the Australian’s, he completely nullified the lyon threat and almost bought up what would have been an outstanding test century but fell at 97, soon pujara also got out and in came ravi ashwin who had lost his batting ability in recent days and at the other end was hanuma vihari with hamstring injury who could not even run. After the fall of the two half-centurions, India had to go for the draw as Vihari injured his hamstring and it really wasn’t an easy pitch to bat on. Ashwin, peppered by some fiery short-ball stuff immediately after tea, was living dangerously and was put down by Abbott (the sub fielder).
There were desperate appeals and every delay by the batsmen frustrated the Australian captain. Vihari, potentially playing for a spot in the team, had to counter the second new ball and then block out a session and a half with one hamstring.
The four main Australian, all locals, bowlers gave their best, but the Vihari- Ashwin pair negated everything thrown at them stoutly. It was a blockathon & which lasted 259 balls before both sides decided to shake hands for a draw. 131 overs is the most number of overs India has batted in the fourth innings of a Test since 1980. This was an enthralling contest and surely, the visitors were the happier side with this result. The scoreline remains 1-1. Steve Smith for his contribution in both the innings was named player of the match.
Going to the fourth test series at Gabba India injury problem continued for team India as bumrah was ruled out of the fourth Test due to an abdominal strain, hanuma vihari suffered a hamstring tear in the Sydney Test and was ruled out, ashwin had a back injury was also out of the fourth test and Jadeja was also ruled out due to left thumb fracture. Natarajan and Washington Sundar who was in the team as net bowlers got a chance in the playing 11 due to so many injuries. So the final test began on January 15th, 2021, Australia won the toss and opt to bat.
Both the Australian openers fell early, as usual, labuschagne and steve smith steadied the ship for Australia both had a good partnership but smith fell after scoring 36 but labuschagne continued to attack Indian bowlers and bought up his deserved century at one stage Australia looked like scoring 450 plus but good bowling by the debutants natarajan, washington Sundar and shardul takur restricted Australia for 369.
India lost gill early in the innings but sharma and pujara continued to bat well, sharma who had bated very well upto 44 was out trying to clear the fence. Rahane, pujara, pant and Agarwal all got starts but dint carry on at one stage were 186-6 and 369 looked like a far way but the two debutants takur and Sundar bated there heart out both scored half-centuries, one of the biggest problems in the Indian team was their bowler’s dint score runs for them but that was not the case in this match. Both got out after scoring runs of huge significance at one stage it looked like the Australians would have a lead in excess of 150 was cut short to just 33 runs.
In the second innings Australians got of to a good start, their openers made the highest opening partnership of the series (89). India removed both the openers in quick quick succession, once again steve smith labuschagne contributed with the bat, smith bought up his half-century and was soon dismissed. Lower order contributions from green, paine and cummins helped Australia reach 294 leaving India to chase 327.
India came in to bat for the second time with 22 overs remaining in the fourth day’s play but the rain interrupted and day four’s play had come to an end, which then had set up for a marvelous final day of a test match. On day five Rohit fell early but gill continued to score runs with pujara. Pujara was rock solid at one end and gill played his natural game at the other end and went on to make 91 but was out to a very good delivery. His 91 was more valuable than any hundred hes made, and perhaps most hearteningly, he didn’t look distraught that he hadnt got the hundred. Pujara took close to ten hits, one that took off his stem guard and one that nearly broke his finger. But Pujara did what Pujara always does. He batted. And he batted. And had still been batting if he could, but it needed a seed from Cummins and a dicey decision to get him out and in came Rishabh pant who was dropped from the limited-overs team had a great opportunity to win a historic test match.
Rishabh pant turned on his t20 mode and started to to take the attack to the Australians, he along with Sundar took the game completely away from Australians. With only 10 runs required for victory sundar was bowled trying to play a reverse sweep and tension once again started but rishabh pant was in no panic as he scored two boundaries to win it for India. At the Gabba. Where Australia hadnt lost in a million years, Shubman Gill hadnt made his debut before this series, Rishabh Pant wasn’t a certainty before this series, and Virat Kohli is watching this from halfway around the planet It was unreal, simply unreal. It was a day of boundless glory for India and a black day in Australian cricket. Rishabh pant for heroic innings of 89 was named player of the match and Pat Cummins for his 21 wickets in the series was named player of the series.