India ended its 71-year long wait for a Test series victory Down Under on Monday after a resounding 2-1 series win against Australia. Though 3-1 could have been an added sweetener given the red-hot form of the Indian side, had the rain stopped but a 2-1 series win in Australia is reassuring for the coming days. India arrived in Sydney after an assailable 2-1 lead, owing to their first ever Boxing Day Test match victory at Melbourne, but there was a slight chance for reversal of fate with Aussies bouncing back to level the series.
However, having placed on top in ICC Test rankings, India played like champions and blitzed through a faltering Aussies side. Starting at Adelaide, where Pujara made his intent clear with a steady 123 in the 1st innings, India placed itself in the driving seat. Though skipper Kohli’s ton at the Perth went in vain as the hosts bounced back to place the series at a cliffhanger, the visitors at Melbourne took an unbeatable 2-1 lead in the series. But, they were far from being done, India were looking to wrap the series like never before.
The Sydney Test was a challenge for both the teams, for the hosts it was time to show intent, and for the visitors to rectify their mistakes and strike hard. It was time to be ruthless against a weak Australian side and Mayank Agarwal along with in-tune Cheteshwar Pujara did exactly the same. Mayank’s 77 off 112 balls, Pujara’s 193 guided India to a solid start. To Australia’s misery, Pant also chipped in the bashing, hammering a 159 off 189 balls to power India to a mammoth score of 622/7.
In the bowling department, Bumrah came out as the black horse scalping 21 wickets in the series. However, it was left-arm Chinaman bowler Kuldeep Yadav who picked his maiden 5-wicket haul in Australia to bring about what hadn’t happened in last 30 years- a follow-on for the hosts to chase the target. Kohli became the first Indian captain since Kapil Dev in 1986 to enforce the follow-on in Australia.
It was in entirety a team effort, with Cheteshwar, Pant, Agarwal, Bumrah, Shami, Yadav exploiting the gaps in the Australian side. The series victory has marked an epoch in Indian cricketing history and will be talked about in the coming years.