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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Test Cricket: India Win Delhi Thriller To Sweep Australia 4-0!



Cheteshwar Pujara (82 not out) and Virat Kohli (41) made the tricky Delhi pitch look easy as they helped India romp home crushing Australia by 6 wickets in the fourth Test match today and India swept the Series 4-0—for the first time against mighty Australia.  They lifted the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2013 after throwing it away in Australia exactly in the reverse manner of a 0-4 drubbing. It was a great moment when the legends Alan Border and Sunil Gavaskar presented the Trophy to the winning captain MS Dhoni.


Cheteshwar Pujara
Justifying his tag as the new ‘wall’ of India Mr. Consistent Pujara played an outstanding unbeaten innings seeing through the end. Virat Kohli who was expected to play a crucial role today gave him perfect company and nearly achieved the target of 155 runs between themselves. The most positive aspect of these two youngsters was that they did not play in fear or in anticipation of the tricky pitch and just batted naturally facing Lyon and Maxwell with authority. They hit boundaries regularly and stole singles at every opportunity racing to 50 in the ninth over and 100 in the twentieth over. The highest run-scorer of the Series Murali Vijay (430 runs) fell to an awkward shot early on and there were a few hiccups when Tendulkar and Rahane followed Kohli in quick succession as if not to rob the suspense out of a genuine thriller. And it was all over within three days. 

Jadeja and Ashwin
On the bowling front, man-of-the-match Ravindra Jadeja delivered a five-wicket haul with some superlative spin bowling foxing the batsmen all the time and nearly achieving a hattrick. Man-of-the-Series Ravichandran Ashwin captured two wickets today taking his tally to an astonishing 29 wickets—the highest of the Series followed by Jadeja with 24 and Nathan Lyon with 15.

Earlier, Lyon got the remaining two Indian wickets out quickly and Australia conceded just 10 lead to India. At that moment the Delhi Test was still anybody’s game. However, Australia failed to live up to the highs achieved yesterday and their batsmen fell in heaps thanks more to the mindset and the fear of the conditions than to batting prowess and application. Fast bowler Peter Siddle again emerged as the only Australian batsman of substance making his second half century of the match. This is enough to prove that the pitch was not exactly a demon that could devour a full batting line-up within two sessions for a paltry 164. At that point too, 12 wickets had fallen for just 170 runs and all the anxiety and tension of the Indian fans was focused on how India would go about it. When they just about relaxed with Pujara and Kohli taking the match away from Australia, wickets started falling. The best Indian captain ever MS Dhoni thought enough was enough and ensured the absolute victory with the resolute Pujara. The Scorecard:

The Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test Series in India will be remembered for a host of healthy and positive reasons. Team India achieved this whitewash with a lot of promising youngsters and without the greats of Dravid, Laxman, Gambhir and Sehwag; the super comeback of the Indian captain Dhoni with a wonderful double hundred in the Chennai Test; Cheteshwar Pujara double hundred and his record 370 run partnership with Murali Vijay for the second wicket in the Hyderabad Test; the dream debut of Shikhar Dhawan with the fastest debut hundred and his record 289 run opening partnership with Vijay in the Mohlai Test; the Jadeja avatar of a Test all-rounder and a class act of specialist spin bowling by Ashwin and Jadeja. For Australia it’d be better if they forget this Series fast—forget particularly the unprecedented episode of axing key players for team indiscipline—and try coming back to their usual tough and competitive cricket. Australia never had a 0-4 whitewash since 1970 when they suffered this humiliation against South Africa in South Africa.

A long domestic season ends for India that started with a Series win against New Zealand, a shock loss against England and a huge triumph against Australia.  Genuine cricket is over for the moment, the revelers of the game may get ready for IPL-6 that unfolds from 3rd April.

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