JANUARY 7, 2019
Brief Scorecard: India 7 for 622 dec (Pujara 193, Pant 159*, Lyon 4-178) drew with Australia 300 (Harris 79, Kuldeep 5-99) and 0 for 6
India win first ever Test series on Aussie soil
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – Seventy-one years after they first toured Australia, India finally have a series win to show. While it wasn’t quite the grandstand 3-1 finish they would have envisaged, but it was a series win well deserved.
It was a pity that they were denied a crowning moment on the field; they were instead forced to celebrate a piece of history with a quiet shake of the hands little after 2.30pm on a bleak day where play didn’t look possible at any stage.
This meant they weren’t able to add to the four overs out of the potential 155 they had at Australia to try to get the ten remaining wickets to secure a third win, after enforcing the follow-on with a 322-run lead that was achieved early on the fourth day. Incidentally, Sunday too dawned dark and grey with only 25.2 overs possible.
The situation at times on the final day bordered on the farcical. As the floodlights took effect, Sydney’s Central Business Districts were visible through the thin spray of pitter-patter but the umpires were bound by the rigid ICC guidelines.
The rain may have not been intense enough for the players to go off in the first place. However, with the rules stipulating players can only return once the drizzle stops and light improves to a reading better than the one that forced them off, any hope of play diminished drastically.
Where they should have been out looking to take wickets, the Indian team spent their morning doing photoshoots and some tour filming; not quite the expected end to an intense series where each Test was pushed into the fifth day. The series win meant India became the fifth side after England, West Indies, New Zealand and South Africa to record a Test series win in Australia.
Out of the 13 captains to have led India on these shores, Virat Kohli’s two wins on this tour is the joint-most along with Bishan Bedi. This completes a circle of sorts for India, who began their long stretch of overseas tours in January last year with a 2-1 series loss in South Africa.
With a slew of home Tests – outside of the one tour to the Caribbean in July – in the next 12 months, India have a great chance of extending their reign as the No. 1-ranked Test side. For Kohli and India, this Test series will be extra special, for they found the batting support that their bowlers missed in South Africa and during their 4-1 loss in England.
Kohli, remarkably, was only the third among all batsmen in the series – Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant finished ahead of him with 521 and 350 runs respectively. In comparison to the 2014-15 tour, where he struck scored 692 runs, Kohli’s tally of 282 seemed pale, but his century in Perth on a fiery track – albeit in a losing cause – was an act for the most top batsmen to emulate.
In the end, the series scoreline was 2-1, with Australia’s Perth win sandwiched between India’s triumphs in Adelaide and Melbourne. Both sides will now square off in three ODIs to round-off a tour that began with the T20I series locked 1-1, with the second T20I in Melbourne ending in no result because of rain.