MARCH 14, 2023
AHMEDABAD: The fifth day’s play in the fourth Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia was a logical extension of the first four days. The bat continued to hold sway with Australia declaring their second innings at 175 for 2. The declaration came 10 minutes and two overs before the final hour. Both captains then decided to call off the match.
Opener Travis Head (90) and his overnight partner Matthew Kuhnemann (6) were the two batsmen dismissed. The former was cleaned up by Axar Patel and the latter was leg-before to R Ashwin, who took his series’ tally of wickets to 25.
Marnus Labuschagne belatedly, helped himself to his first fifty of the series (63). He and stand-in skipper Steve Smith (10) were the not out batsmen. There was hardly any interest left in the match once news broke about India qualifying for the World Test Championship Final after New Zealand beat Sri Lanka by two wickets off the last ball of the Test in Christchurch.
The rest of the final day’s play resembled more than anything the fourth day of a domestic match with nothing at stake. There were more security personnel patrolling the Narendra Modi Stadium than fans.
That said, there were many takeaways from the 2-1 series win for India. The biggest plus was Virat Kohli scoring his long overdue 28th Test ton. The premier India batsman showed great powers of concentration to bat for 516 minutes for his 186 in testing conditions to help his team take the first-innings lead.
Kohli, after scoring two back-to-back hundreds in the ODIs against Sri Lanka earlier this year, and now a Test hundred, appears to have got into the habit of scoring centuries again. It augurs well for India as they eye the WTC crown and the ODI World Cup at home later this year.
“I don’t think there was any monkey on his back. When you are around a player like that, and when you see how they go about their business, you don’t feel that kind of thing going in his head,” said captain Rohit Sharma about Kohli finally breaking his more three-year Test century drought.
“He has played more than hundred Tests now. He’s got so many runs, so many hundreds. So, for a player like him, it is about a few innings here and there. We saw that in white-ball cricket as well. From Asia Cup, when he got that hundred (against Afghanistan), he never looked back. And I hope it is going to be the same with the red ball as well,” Sharma said.
Another performance that would have gladdened the team is the quality shown by Shubman Gill.
The 23-year-old has answered the doubting Thomases by scoring a classic 128 after almost spending two days in the sun chasing leather.
“It’s been a really exciting 4-5 months for Shubman, just breaking into the T20I side and scoring a hundred. Doing the same in Oneday cricket and then capping that off with good performances in the last two Tests. It is really exciting for a young player to come through,” said coach Rahul Dravid.
Courtesy/Source: TOI / PTI