Pujara hundreds, Pant banter and Dhoni 2.0: Recapping India’s historic Australia tour

first_imgAfter lost chances in South Africa and England, India, the top-ranked Test side, were under a bit of pressure to shed their tag of poor travellers. Questions were being asked of Virat Kohli’s captaincy and the support staff’s contribution as the Asian giants were led by tactical blunders in the two previous overseas tours of 2018.However, Team India, as conceded by several members of the unit, learned from the mistakes made in South Africa and England and used the learnings to create history in Australia. The focus, as expected, was around Virat Kohli in the lead up to the two-month-long tour. Columns were written about the India captain, he was the central figure in the host broadcaster’s promotional videos ahead of the Test series.When Cheteshwar Pujara showed us traditional Test match batting still works However, Cheteshwar Pujara undoubtedly emerged as the star for the visitors in the much-talked-about Test series. He scored 521 runs from four matches to lead India to their first-ever Test series win on Australian soil. More than the number of runs he had scored, the amount of time he spent at the middle ground down a top-class Australian attack.In a span of 1258 deliveries and close to 30 hours, the man from Rajkot told the world that there is still place for traditional Test batting in the era of franchise-based T20 leagues.Former Australia captain Ian Chappell perfectly summed up the impact Pujara had created in the Test series in Australia.”While the Australian cricket team was keeping a wary eye on Virat Kohli, Pujara snuck up from behind and executed the perfect mugging. In addition to helping India win a series for the first time in Australia, he frustrated a top-class opposition attack to the point of submission,” Chappell wrote in his column for ESPNCricinfo.advertisementBumrah breathes fire! It was refreshing to see the Indian batting unit put behind the memories of failures in South Africa and England and compliment the fine work from the ever-consistent Indian bowling attack.The Indian pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma made life difficult for the Aussie batsmen and clearly outclassed their counterparts.Bumrah was breathing fire when he had the new ball in his hands. With the old ball as well, his pace and intensity seldom dipped as he cracked open a few helmets during his fiery spells.Pant wins banter battle on Australia tour Not just the battle with the bat and ball, India were also unbeatable when it came to playing mind games. Rishabh Pant was constantly chirping from behind the wickets and won a lot of hearts when he babysat for Australia captain Tim Paine. The photograph of the India wicketkeeper with Paine’s kids shared by the latter’s wife went viral on social media. Unlike the tours in the past, never did any member from the two teams cross the line.Coach Ravi Shastri took pride in the team’s efforts. Apart from heaping praise on his captain, Shastri acknowledged the contributions of Pujara and the bowling attack during his exclusive chat with India Today. The former India captain didn’t think twice about admitting that they had made mistakes on their tours of South Africa and England.MS Dhoni 2.0While the Test series ended with party scenes in the Indian camp, Australia began the ODI series on a high. For Virat Kohli’s men, the 34-run defeat in Sydney meant a rocky start to the World Cup year. MS Dhoni’s 96-ball 51 in the first ODI on Saturday seemingly compounded India’s woes. Cut to January 18, Dhoni was the toast of the nation. The veteran wicketkeeper-batsman, whose mind is heavily insulated against outside noise, proved he still has the goods in him by smashing back-to-back match-winning half-centuries.With three half-centuries in as many matches, Dhoni helped India clinch their first-ever bilateral ODI series in Australia. More importantly, he helped himself by silencing his critics in the lead up to the all-important Cricket World Cup.Virat Kohli was seen unwinding at the Melbourne Park after the ODI series. He was in Melbourne, with his wife Anushka Sharma, enjoying some Australian Open tennis action and posing for photographs with all-time great, Roger Federer.”An amazing way to finish the Australian summer,” he wrote on social media. And that summed it up all!Also See:last_img read more