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AUS v IND series report: Kohli & Co. create history as they humble Australia to register a 2-1 series win

Mon, 7th, Jan 2019 |
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It was the first time in history that a touring Indian team to Australia was touted as favourites to win the series. This had been the case in all the Indian tours in the past one year where India was considered to pip their opposition and emerge victorious but it was not to be. However, this time around with the Indian team improving leaps and bounds with every tournament and the poor performance of Australia in recent times made India's claim to an elusive series win Down Under even stronger. India were clearly the superior side and they made sure that they played like one throughout the series.

India were professional throughout and barring a few hiccups, they outplayed Australia in all the three departments. In the first match in Adelaide, the ghost of the haunting past returned when India were reduced to 41 for 4 in the very first session. A gritty century by Pujara with some support by the lower middle order bailed India out of the situation and helped India post a challenging first innings total. The Indian bowlers were menacing and went about their job with utmost discipline and showed what this bowling unit is capable of if ably supported by the batsmen and the fielders. Chasing a target of 323 in the fourth innings, Australia gave a spirited performance but India were able to hold their nerves and eke out a victory by 31 runs.

The second Test hosted in the new stadium of Perth presented a green track to the team and with the unavailability of Ashwin due to injury issues, India were tempted to go with an extra pacer in the form of Umesh Yadav. After a century stand put up by the Australian openers, India bowlers staged a comeback by chipping wickets at regular intervals. Umesh Yadav prised out the important wickets of Usman Khawaja and Pat Cummins. The second innings saw a master class from our skipper, Virat Kohli who went on to register his 25th Test ton but the lack of significant contribution from other batsmen meant India couldn't post a big 1st innings total and Australia capitalised on their lead. Chasing a target of 287 in the 4th innings, the Indian batting line up crumbled and handed Australia a victory by 146 runs.

With the series levelled at 1-1, the Boxing Day Test match at MCG became all the more important for both the sides. India had never won a Boxing Day Test in Australia before but this was about to change. India saw a totally new opening pair in the 3rd Test with Karnataka boy, Mayank Aggarwal making his debut along with Hanuma Vihari who was just 2 Test matches old. Both did a fine job in negating the new ball and then it was the turn of a Kohli-Pujara magic. Both these batsmen stiched a 140-run partnership for the 3rd wicket. Virat missed on a well deserved 100 while Pujara went on to score his 2nd ton of the series. Bumrah proved to be too hot to handle for the Aussies as he registered his best bowling figures scalping 6 wickets. Not enforcing a follow on raised a few questions but all the doubts were put to rest when Australia failed to chase the target. The win meant that India were not going to lose the series from here on and they had retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

With the confidence soaring high, Virat had made it very clear that there was no room for complacency and India will not settle for anything less than a series win and will be coming harder in the final Test. Having won the toss, India posted a monumental first inning score of 622-7(d) riding on daddy hundreds by Pujara and Pant. Kuldeep, who was given his first opportunity in the series grabbed it with both hands and took a five-wicket haul to send Australia in a shell. Enforcing a follow on, a 3-1 series win was on the cards but the rain gods decided otherwise. With the entire day 5 and most of day 4 washed out, India had to settle with a draw but the draw was enough for India to pocket the series and create history.

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