India breach fortress at Gabba, beat Australia by 3 wickets to win series 2-1. India win the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia for the second time in a row. Last time in 2018-19 under Virat Kohli’s captaincy they won the series 2-1. This time under Ajinkya Rahane, they have again won 2-1. Despite several injuries and as a result key players missing, this Indian team showed great grit and resilience. It was a cracker of a test match here at Gabba, Brisbane. The match went down until the last hour, with all 4 results still in contention. India finally chased down the huge target when just 3 overs were left in the test match.
1st innings Australia 369-10(115.2 overs). M Labuschagne 108(204), T Paine 50(104), T Natarajan 3/78, W Sundar 3/89.
India 336-10(111.4 overs). S Thakur 67(115), W Sundar 62(144), J Hazlewood 5/57, M Starc 2/88.
2nd innings Australia 294-10(75.5 overs). S Smith 55(74), D Warner 48(75), M Siraj 5/73, S Thakur 4/61.
India 329-7(97 overs). S Gill 91(146), R Pant 89(138), P Cummins 4/55, N Lyon 2/85.
Man of the Match – Rishabh Pant
Man of the Series – Pat Cummins
Australian captain Tim Paine won the toss and elected to bat first on Day 1. The pitch was a typical Gabba wicket, with good bounce and also suited for batting. Washington Sundar and T Natarajan were making their respective debuts for India.Shardul had also bowled just 10 balls at the test level before this match. So effectively India had a very inexperienced bowling attack, with all of them making their debuts in this series itself.
Australia lost both their openers early. Even Steve Smith could not convert his start to a big score. He was dismissed by debutant Sundar. Marnus Labuschagne scored a brisk century, his first of the series. It also rained in the later part of Day 1 so stumps was taken early.
India on Day 2 took the remaining 5 Australian wickets on Day 2 in the first session itself. It was a team effort as the trio of Washington Sundar, T Natarajan and Shardul Thakur all took 3 wickets apiece. Then in the first innings, Rohit Sharma got a good start, but again threw away his wicket playing a lofted drive.
All Round Performance by Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur
India were in deep trouble when they were reeling at 186-6. But then 2 of the inexperienced but talented all-rounders bailed them to safety. Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur stitched a match-defining partnership of 123 runs. Thus, Australia’s first innings lead was reduced to just 33 runs.
Australia in their second innings tried to up the scoring ante. Their openers gave them a rollicking start with a stand of 89 runs. Steve Smith and Tim Paine scored their respective half-centuries. For India, Mohammed Siraj picked up his maiden 5-wicket haul. It was a special moment for him as he has been a lot in his personal life lately. Shardul Thakur also picked up 4 crucial wickets.
With rain interrupting the passage of play, there was not much cricket after tea on Day 4. So India had a target of 328 runs on the final day, on a wearing Day 5 pitch at Gabba, which also happens to be the fortress for Australia. They had not lost a single test here since 1988. So no one really thought India could win on Day 5. But this Indian team has always braved the odds and they did so once more.
India was the first visiting team to win at the Gabba in 32 years
India did lose Rohit Sharma early in the day. But Shubman Gill kept playing his shots from his end, while the other end was held together by the Wall of this new Indian team – Cheteshwar Pujara. Gill was unfortunately dismissed on 91. captain Ajinkya Rahane tried to play with aggression and made a quickfire 24. Then came on the crease Rishabh Pant, the hero of the chase. He played with intent. While the other end was held very strongly by Pujara, who also took at least 10 blows on his body.
After Pujara was given LBW on umpire’s call, India were in a spot of bother. But Pant and Sundar made quick runs and had their 50 run partnership to put the hosts under pressure. There was some drama in the end with both Sundar and Shardul dismissed, but Pant guided India home safely.
India was the first visiting team to win at the Gabba in 32 years. This was as historic a win as it could be for this battered and bruised but resilient India. Overall this was a thoroughly exciting test series, at par at least with the 2005 Ashes.
Rishabh Pant was given Man of the Match for his scintillating match-winning knock of 89*.
Pat Cummins was adjudged Man of the Series. He was the highest wicket-taker in the series with 21 wickets in 4 matches.