End of Day 5 : India 469/10 & 314/3 decl
Australia 268 /10 & 195 all out.
Today India has recorded its biggest test win in its history. By 320 runs, this has been a pasting for the world champions and they would be really hurting. The last time the Aussies lost by over 300 runs was in 1969-70 against the South Africans.
Australia’s worst fears have come true, yes they are badly missing the likes of Shane Warne, Glenn Mcgrath, Justin Langer, Damien Martyn, Jason Gillespie, Adam Gilchrist & Micheal Kasprowicz. They probably were missed most in this match than ever. In this match not only were they beaten but they were taken to the cleaners. The two teams stood apart and the Indians really looked a better team.
The day began with Zaheer ripping the heart out of the aussie fightback. If any one had a glimmer of a hope it was gone in the first 3 overs. In the first over Zaheer had one coming back into Haddin, who was facing his first delivery of the day wasn’t expecting such a beauty first up. In the next over Cameron White chased a reverse away swinging delivery and the next delivery opened Brett Lee like a can of beans and his stumps had taken a walk. The three wickets ensured there was no getting away and no nervous moments for Indian fans. The first ball when Mitchell Johnson faced against Zaheer on a hattrick was a pleasing sight to the eye. We had the bowler and 9 catchers along with the keeper in a umbrella field to gobble him up. This clearly showed how dominant India was in the match. Johnson & Clarke delayed the inevitable as the latter compiled a fifty. Amit Mishra not to be left out took the remaining two wickets and helped himself to 7 wickets in a debut match.
The moment was there for all to see, the joy of not just beating Australia but drubbing them is only to be experienced and cannot be described. At the end of the day Ricky Ponting accepted that his team had been totally outplayed, outclassed in every department. Dhoni acknowledged the fact that everything that they did was almost perfect and would like to stay at this end for more matches to come however he did keep his feet on the ground and told his bunch that Australia would come back hard.
So are the glory days of the Australians over ?? Are India ready to take over the mantle of the number one team ??
Probably Australians are not the force they once were but that doesn’t mean we are the heir apparent. India has its own demons to fight. We have always been able to live up and play well for one match or one series where we look like world beaters only to lift the spirits of the fans and well wishers and than bringing them down with the next series.
The reason the Australians were the world number one team in tests for over 13 years has been their consistency. If India wants to stake the claim to that number than the challenge will be not only to beat the Aussies in this series but to take out England next, than Pakistan in Pakistan than New Zealand in New Zealand and first up show the consistency. Even after that we still have to win a series in South Africa & Australia if we are to be regarded along with the Aussies.
Also as the fab 5 will retire, the challenge will be replacing them. I agree replacing them in the One dayers has been easy but it wont be so easy in the Test Matches, remember we have to replace over 36000 runs in the fab 4 and over 600 wickets in Anil Kumble. This will happen in the next 2 years, where in we will have our own battle like the Aussies who miss their champions. They would have never missed them as much as they miss them today.
However lets give credit where it is due, I cannot remember an Aussie loss of this magnitude. They did lose the 2001 series in India and the 2005 ashes in England but they were close defeats and they were dramatic and really fighting Australian teams that went down but they returned as Champions there after. However in this match they were never in the match since the first morning, Ricky Ponting paid the price for not being attacking. He was ready to be patient, give singles and wait for mistakes and he paid for it. Indians smarting after the 2004 series loss, took a lot of singles, infact 25% of our runs came in singles and the Aussies paid the price for giving easy runs.
Man by man this Indian team looks awesome. Virender Sehwag & Gautam Gambhir are a wonderful left/right hand combination at the top who not only are attacking but also run very well between the wickets. At number three we have Rahul Dravid, who might well be past his prime but you can write him off at your own peril. We have Sachin, Sourav & Laxman in the middle which is full of steel, flair and most importantly another 25000 runs. Add to that a flamboyant Mahendra Singh Dhoni and the batting lineup looks complete. In the bowling We have Anil albeit he didn’t play this match, but a proven match winner over the years, the maverick Harbhajan who I must say is still not bowling at his best. However the most important aspect of this Indian team is that for the first time in our history we have a fast bowling pair with some real teeth. Not only pace but the control the two bowlers have the discipline the willingness to learn and the fire in their belly ensures that the opposition batsmen have no respite.
Imagine we getting a 50+ opening stand always, Imagine the opposition always losing their 1st wicket in the first 5 overs. Well begun is half the job done, when you don’t have to do catching up all the time half the battle is easier to win. Over the years we have never had proper opening batsmen and a proper pace attack.
The bench strength also looks quite awesome. As Ganguly goes I hope Irfan Pathan is enthused in the mix atleast to give the skipper an option to go in with 5 bowlers. Yuvraj & Rohit Sharma will be vying for that spot also and logically it might go to them. But if you want to take 5 bowlers in the team this is the opportunity India has been waiting for. The pace bowling department is the most exciting. Zaheer and Ishant pick themselves head and shoulders above all with the discipline, maturity and heart that they have shown. If Sree Santh can leave the jingoism to others and can concerntrate on his fast bowling and his fitness we could well have a pace attack that oppositions will be drearing. R.P Singh is also an exciting prospect. Add to that Munaf Patel, Manpreet Gony, Ajit Agarkar, Praveen Kumar. This place will have a lot of competition in future. For the openers slot there will be pressure from Akash Chopra & Robin Uthappa the latter again needs to leave the fashion and all else out and concerntrate on his game more. He is very talented and India can do with a powerful batsman like him. Then you have your Suresh Raina, Subramaniam Badrinath, Shikhar Dhawan, Mohammed Kaif along with Yuvraj Singh and Rohit Sharma that I earlier mentioned. Amit Mishra has just shown his worthiness as a spinner in this match and we also have Piyush Chawla waiting in the wings along with Pragyan Ojha.
These are exciting times for Indian cricket, but the true test is only beginning. The test of endurance & consistency has just begun. Tighten your seat belts as India embark on a journey to the unknown to the number one spot in Test cricket the real cricket. Just hoping this is only the beginning.
Over to you…..