That’s the Way to do it!
What do they say about letting your game do all the talking? What do they say about men of honour? What is it that separates men from the boys?
India has done all that and more.
Lying on a bean bag in front of the TV at my friend Sharjeel’s place, I cursed every time RP Singh pitched one short to the Aussie tail enders. Impatience was getting the better of me. But it was held back by the belief that it was only a matter of time before we wrapped it up. And then, it happened. One swinging yorker from RP Singh, the only one he bowled in that spell, sealed the deal for India.
India had done what they were destined to do after the Sydney fiasco. I use the word destined very consciously here, because the Sydney loss played a key role here. Ricky Ponting might give it a ‘5%’ but I give it more than 20%. Right from day one, Australia looked subdued. Bowlers were being extremely careful in talking, same with the fielders. No incident epitomised this more than the one where Shaun Tait apologised to Sachin Tendulkar after a loud appeal for caught behind. The batsmen looked on the defensive, especially in the second innings. A look at Ricky Ponting’s face said it all. The Aussies were a rattled lot, a shadow of the arrogant side that took to field in Sydney. And quite rightly so.
That, of course, is no reason to take away any credit from India, especially India’s bowlers, three of whom are in their early 20s. The thing that speaks volumes about the effort put in by Pathan, Sharma and Singh is this: Michael Hussey, Chris Rogers and Adam Gilchrist grew up playing at the WACA; yet, except Gilchrist in the second innings, they all got out to the Indian medium pacers. This is not just a coincidence. India’s bowlers have stood up when it mattered the most. But more importantly, it’s a sign of things to come. India’s overseas performances have improved dramatically over the last couple of years and the improvement in our pace attack has played a very important role. As the team evolves and tries to reach the number one spot in test rankings, the bowling attack will be the key.
At last Sehwag was chosen and the way he batted in both the innings made all the difference to the team’s confidence. Laxman was awesome, again! Dravid’s return to the number three spot was a big relief–for Dravid himself and the hapless fans like me as well. I hope he remains at that spot for the next game. Like Tendulkar and Laxman did in Sydney, he and Laxman could do an encore of their parnership that one India the game in 2004.
A word about Kumble
From the way he stood up as a leader after the Sydney test to the way he handled the pressure leading up to this match, Anil Kumble has reaffirmed himself as the best man to lead India. The decision to pick Pathan was a good one considering that there would have been a strong temptation to play Bhajji. Pathan has ended up being the man of the match!
After Dravid stepped down and Kumble was given the charge, I had thought the way he handles the team in Australia will be his real test. Not only has he been a leader, he has been an inspirational leader. Cheers to you Jumbo, keep it up!
In hind sight, we should have gone into the fourth test 2-1 up or at least 1-1, but that’s not happening. India has to level the series and be happy with it. The Aussies will come hard at them. After all, their dominance in world cricket is being questioned. They are still the best test side in the world and Adelaide could well end up like what happened in Melbourne in 2004 when India lost the match after going one up.
Advice: Stay away from the TV!
The media is busy branding today’s victory as the one that “denied Australia a record 17th straight victory”, therefore, taking away from it all that happened back at Sydney and all the hard work put in by India. So, be calm, take a deep breath and keep in mind that this a win should be remembered for the resurgence of the team after being 2-0 down. It should be remembered for the maturity displayed by the Indian team in times of crisis. And most importantly, as a victory that’ll change the way India plays its Cricket forever.
Update: Curious fact presents itself: No batsman got a hundred, no bowler got a five-for.
Images courtesy: Cricinfo