India beat Australia to end 71 years of hurt

71 years after India first toured Australia, they have finally won a Test series down under in Oz. Under the excellent leadership of Ravi Shastri, and Virat Kohli, India made history with a 2-1 series win, and in fairness to the Indians, the scoreline flattered Australia.

India were excellent in all departments. Their batting, bowling and fielding was all up to the standard, but it was with the bat that they really dominated Australia.

The Aussies didn’t manage one century between them, while India scored five. Three of those centuries came from one batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara, with one from wicket keeper Rishabh Pant, and one from captain, Virat Kohli.

As well as scoring a century, Virat Kohli’s captaincy was also excellent. Alongside Kohli, there were two other outstanding performers that ensured India won. They were batsman, Cheteshwar Pujara, and fast bowler, Jasprit Bumrah.

Cheteshwar Pujara

The standout performer of the whole series was Cheteshwar Pujara. Batting at No.3, Pujara scored 521 runs at an average of 74.42. He had a highest score of 193, with 3 centuries, that’s more hundreds than the whole of the other two teams put together.

In a series where the bowlers from both sides were fairly evenly matched, it was the batting that made the difference, and Pujara was head and shoulders above everyone else.

Jasprit Bumrah

Pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah also had a remarkable series, and is now the undisputed spear head of the Indian attack. Bumrah finished joint top wicket taker with 21 victims, the same number as Aussie spinner, Nathan Lyon.

The difference was Bumrah took his wickets at an average of 17, with a strike rate of 44.9. Compare that to Lyon, who took his wickets at an average of 30.42, with a strike rate of 69.1, and you can see that Bumrah really won this battle hands down.

Bumrah Has The World At His Feet

Bumrah has only just turned 25. He has wickets in England and Australia under his belt, and he looks set to become one of the premier fast bowlers in the world.

In his Test career he has taken 49 wickets in his 10 Tests to date. This is at an average of 21.89, which is outstanding in world cricket. Bizarrely, he is only ranked 16th in the ICC Test match bowling rankings, but that will soon change. He is only heading one way there.

Jasprit Bumrah played a major role in India beat Australia

Bumrah represents the Mumbai Indians in the IPL, and despite rumblings of resting India’s premier fast bowlers ahead of the world cup, Bumrah looks set to play.

In fairness, the 4 overs per match he is likely to bowl probably won’t take too much from him physically. The idea of the rest would be more for a break from the travel, and the intense pressure involved with playing in the IPL.

The IPL 2019 starts on March 23rd, with the final set to take place in the second week of May. The ICC cricket world cup then starts on 30th May, so with warm up matches, that doesn’t give any time for a break in between. 

Kohli Always Makes An Impact

Despite been one of only three century makers in the series, Indian captain Virat Kohli didn’t have his greatest series with the bat. That is in no way a criticism, it is an acknowledgement of just how high his standards are.

The world’s greatest batsman only averaged 40.28 in this series, fairly modest against his career average of over 53.

In the recent bowler dominated series in England, Kohli scored 593 runs at an average of 59.30. This put to bed – once and for all – the myth that he can’t play the moving ball.

Kohli’s series total was nearly 250 runs better than anybody else. England’s Jos Buttler was the second top scorer with 349 runs, a mere 244 runs behind Kohli. Proving he was by far and away the best batsman in the series – and the world!

Will Fletcher finally wield the axe in Adelaide?

There will be at least one enforced change for India in the 4th test with MS Dhoni (probably gladly) suspended, but will Duncan Fletcher show a real signal of intent and drop one of the old guard and start rebuilding now?

One of Dravid or VVS could/should go. They’ve both been great players, but they are the two you would have expected to dig in a bit more during this series and make things a lot harder for Australia. Instead, when these two have gone, the whole team has collapsed around them.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not blaming just those two, but they are two of the rocks that this test side is built around, but they haven’t resisted enough lately, they are both getting on now and are most definitely not the future for India.

Dare I also mention Sachin Tendulkar’s name in all this without being bombarded with complaints? The great man surely has to be close to the end of his test career also, when did he last play a defining test innings for India?

It sure will be interesting to see the India team that takes to the field in Adelaide.