India retains the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

By Kersi Meher-Homji

What a Test! What twists and turns! The better team under a dynamic leader emerged winner in the Boxing Day Melbourne Test which ended today, the 30th December.

Virat Kohli’s Indians not only won the Melbourne Test by 137 runs but retained  the Border-Gavaskar Trophy as well, as they lead 2-1 in the series.

Now I can’t wait to attend the fourth and final Test starting on Thursday the 3rd January in Sydney.

Back to the Melbourne magic created by the batting of Cheteshwar Pujara and Kohli, the wizardry of Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah and the all-round excellence of Australia’s fast bowler Pat Cummins.

After debutant Indian opener Mayank Agarwal scored 76, the in-form batsmen Pujara (106) and Kohli (82) added 170 runs for the third wicket. Then Rohit Sharma contributed 63 and Kohli declared the Indian innings at 7 for 443.

Bumrah bowled at his best to claim his career best 6 for 33 and Australia was bowled out for a measly 151 to trail India by 292 runs.

What happened next was hard to comprehend as India lost 5 for 44 at one stage; Pujara and Kohli scoring ducks and Ajinkya Rahane one run. That means India lost her three best batsmen for one run. Incredible! All three fell to the pace and accuracy of Cummins.

Agarwal (42) and Rishbah Pant (33) took India past 100, Cummins had a marvelous spell of 6 for 27. Kohli declared India’s innings at 8 for 106 setting Australia a near impossible target of 399 to win.

Bumrah and Ravichandra Jadeja took vital wickets and Australia looked certain to lose on the fourth day. But Cummins (63 runs) batted valiantly with the bat and took the match to the fifth day.

India won the Test by 137 runs to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Australia for the first time. Bumrah was the unanimous choice as the Man of the Match for his nine wicket haul in the match.

As India is leading 2-1 in a 4-Test series, she has only to draw the final Test in Sydney to win a Test series in Australia for the first time ever. Of course a victory in the Sydney Test would be more prestigious. Kohli is confident. So is every Indian home and away.

Apart from the result, India is ahead is individual statistics as well. Pujara has scored most runs in the series so far, 328 runs at 54.66. Kohli is next best with 259 runs at 43.16.

Only three centuries have been scored in the series, Pujara scoring two and Kohli. No Australian batsman has even touched 75.

In bowling Bumrah is the only one to take 20 wickets; 20 at an economical average of 14.65. Australia’s spinner Nathan Lyon and fast bowler Cummins are next best with 17 and 14 wickets each.

Will India keep up her winning tempo in the Sydney Test in the New Year?

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