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Inexperienced India breach fortress Gabba; Gill, Pant guide Rahane-led team to series-clinching win against Australia

Inexperienced India breach fortress Gabba; Gill, Pant guide Rahane-led team to series-clinching win against Australia

Inexperienced India breach fortress Gabba; Gill, Pant guide Rahane-led team to series-clinching win against Australia
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By Abhishek Jha  Jan 19, 2021 4:16:37 PM IST (Updated)

An inexperienced Indian team has won a cliffhanger in Brisbane against Australia by 3 wickets and sealed the four-match test series 2-1. The victory means that this is India's back-to-back test series victory against Australia in Australia.

An inexperienced Indian team has won a cliffhanger in Brisbane against Australia by 3 wickets and sealed the four-match test series 2-1. The victory means that this is India's back-to-back test series victory against Australia in Australia.

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The chase was brilliantly led by Rishabh Pant who stayed not out and hit a wonderful 89. Young opener, Shunhman Gill also contributed with a 91 at the top and the gritty Cheteshwar Pujara held up his end and drained the Australian bowlers for his 56.
For Australia, Pat Cummins was the pick of the bowler taking the important wickets of Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara in his haul of 4 for 55.
The test match was in the balance even in the last hour with all three results possible. In the first innings, Australia scored 369 and India replied with 336. This gave Australia a lead of 33 and they scored 294 in the second innings. India chased down the set total with only three overs left on the last day.
The injury-depleted India squad played with no fear, ending Australia’s unbeaten run at the Gabba that dated to 1988.
The inexperienced Indian, led by Ajinkya Rahane, bounced back against many odds in this series. They lost the first test after a dramatic collapse in the fourth innings. The team has also been plagued by injuries with the team playing the fourth test with six main players missing.
India resumed Tuesday on 4 without loss and had 98 overs to chase a victory target of 328 or three full sessions to bat through to salvage the draw it needed to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.
No team had scored more than 236-7 in the fourth innings to win a test match at the Gabba. India won by three wickets and, with a total of 329-7, now replaces Australia's team of 1951 for that record.
After never winning a test series on Australian soil until 2018-19, India has now done it twice on consecutive tours Down Under.
Opener Shubman Gill posted 91, Pujara absorbed no fewer than 11 hits in his 211-ball 56. The four-test had been tied 1-1, meaning India needed only a draw to retain the trophy.
India batted through the last four sessions to salvage a draw in the third test in Sydney, with Pant and Pujara playing key roles. They went one better this time, again against most expectations.
Pujara continued with Ajinkya Rahane (24) after Gill was caught at slip of Nathan Lyon for 91 and then joined forces with Pant after Cummins struck again to remove India’s stand-in captain and make the score 167-3.
While Pujara kept taking blows to the helmet, hands and body in a stonewalling inning to post his 28th test half-century, Pant kept up the strike rate.
Pant took command when Cummins finally trapped Pujara lbw late in the evening session and guided the partnerships with Mayank Agarwal (9) and Washington Sundar (22) that got India home. The noise from the crowd, only about 4,500 but mostly India supporters, increased with every scoring shot.
Pant’s 97 on the last day of the third test in Sydney last week was instrumental in helping India force a draw and keep the series level.
In Brisbane, India prevented Australia from getting into a position to score quickly and declare on day four, when Mohammed Siraj took his maiden five-wicket haul to restrict the hosts to 294 in the second innings.
Rain washed out much of the last session Monday, meaning Sharma and Gill only had to survive 11 balls before stumps on the penultimate day.
India without almost a dozen front-line players, including skipper Virat Kohli who returned home after the first test in Adelaide to be with his wife for the birth of their first child, born on the day India held Australia to a draw in Sydney.
The bowling group was missing its biggest names. Ishant Sharma didn’t make it onto the tour, Mohammed Shami broke his arm while batting in the first test and his fellow fast bowler Umesh Yadav was ruled out after the second test.
Leading spinner Ravichandran Ashwin played a big role with the bat in helping India in Sydney, but did so with a back problem that ultimately meant he couldn’t play in the deciding test. When pace spearhead Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out of the fourth test, India was left with one of its least experienced bowling attacks ever in a test match.
Mohammed Siraj, who made his debut in Melbourne last month, just weeks after his father died in India, led the attack in just his third test match. He was supported by Shardul Thakur, in his second test, and Thangarasu Natarajan making his test debut at age 29. Without the services of Ashwin and allrounder Ravindra Jadeja, who broke his thumb in Sydney, Sundar got his test debut and performed exceptionally well with bat and ball.
The beleaguered India attack achieved what the vaunted Australian bowling unit couldn’t do at the Gabba, take 20 wickets.
For the whole series Australia retained the same bowlers who skittled India for 36 en route to winning the first test by eight wickets. As they fatigued, India’s crop of fresh recruits maintained an intensity.
All the newcomers played with the kind of resolve and resilience which has given the India squad the moral victory on long, arduous tour in the COVID era.
(With inputs from AP)
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