Millennium Post

Riveting cricket

Riveting cricket

India regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after four years when they beat Australia by eight wickets in the Dharamsala Test on Tuesday. Chasing a target of 106 set by the Australians, Indian opener KL Rahul and stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane (Virat Kohli was injured for this match) took India home, winning the four-match series 2-1. By all accounts, it was a riveting series filled with relentless drama. For the young Australian side, it is apparent that they were not quite ready to cross the final hurdle and defeat the best Test team in the world on current ranking. Nonetheless, the progress they've made since their previous visit to the subcontinent is plainly visible.

Led by their captain, Steven Smith, who was sensational with the bat on tough conditions, the Australians can take a lot of positives into the upcoming Ashes series versus England. This series, however, was all about Team India. After a heavy loss in the first Test, the team led by the aggressive Virat Kohli clawed their way back in the next match, almost won the one after that and finally broke the Australians in their second innings of the fourth Test with some inspired bowling. What was even more inspiring about the come-from-behind victory was that Team India talisman Virat Kohli never got going with the bat, although he did manage to get under the skin of the opposition with constant verbal barrage and mind games reminiscent of past Australian sides under Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting.

The supporting cast of Cheteshwar Pujara, KL Rahul and wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha (who has successfully taken over from former captain MS Dhoni) helped Team India to bat their way through difficult circumstances. It was with the ball, however, where India turned the tide. Led by Ravindra Jadeja's relentless spin, which netted him 25 wickets at 19 apiece, ably supported by Ravichandran Ashwin, who claimed 21 wickets, India's bowling unit tormented the Australians. They will also be encouraged by Umesh Yadav, a seamer with genuine pace and swing who will serve as an excellent attack leader in Australian conditions next time around. Under coach Anil Kumble, India has found a very good balance in their line-up. At home, India remains dominant. Can they do the same in South Africa later this year? For now, it's time to move on to the Indian Premier League.

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