Yes, the resurgent Team India has stopped the Aussie juggernaut once again. After SCG, Australia didn’t deserve the record, yet, they were given a chance at glory, with 413 to chase on a fairly firm Perth pitch. But Indians, in a heartening display of good, disciplined bowling, managed to hold on to their chances, and broke Aussie dream in their own backyard — the ground that’s been graveyard of the sub-continental teams for years.
While this was a complete team effort where almost everyone – Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, RP, Pathan, Dhoni, Kumble, Sehwag – played their part in this famous win, the revelation has to be Ishant Sharma (Sehwag and Pathan’s return cannot be underplayed either). He set the tone for the final day with a spell that would have made a veteran fast bowler proud. But that it came from a rookie, just 19 years old, is sensational. He foxed Ponting — one of the most prolific second-innings run scorer (and world’s best batsman at the present, according to many — though I beg to differ) , and a key man in the Australian run chase — over after over. Ponting was lucky survive the lenght that he survived, and even that wasn’t enough.
What was most amazing about Ishant Sharma’s spell, was the immaculate line and length to the right-handed batsman; he wasn’t afraid to pitch it up, and he never, ever gave width. Ponting, who must have been breathing a little easy coming to this test, as Harbhajan, his current nemesis, was not picked up for this match, was never allowed to settle down, forget dominating – which his usual style. And that really set the tone. With Hussey choosing to play the watchful, un-australian way, breaking Ponting gave India an immense psychological edge, despite getting just one wicket in the whole session.
I had watched Ishant in his game against Pakistan and wasn’t at all impressed with the way he was spraying the ball all over, but first in Sydney and now in Perth, he’s shown that he’s a quick learner. Hopefully Indian administration will take a clue and start putting up some lively pitches back home. In South-Africa, England and now in Australia, our bowlers have shown that they can dominate when given a nice strip. Enough kid-gloving of our famed batting lineup!
That said, I’m not too hopeful about Adelaide test. This match was a matter of pride for the team, and they’ve shown exceptional tenacity at times, but they need to watch out for our traditional complacency. Aussies are going to come at us like wild boars (nothing racist, I hope?).
Today, however, is not the time to think of that. It’s time to celebrate. This is a huge huge victory, much bigger than the Twenty20.
Congratulations, Team India!