A severely depleted India has won the Border-Gavaskar trophy with a 2-1 series win after pulling off one of the largest run chases in the nation’s history in the fourth and final decisive Test at the Gabba.
Australia had not been beaten at the Gabba since falling to Viv Richards’ all-conquering West Indies side by nine wickets in November 1988.
India’s 329 for seven also smashed the 69-year-old record for the biggest run-chase at the Gabba, set by Australia who scored 236 for seven to beat the West Indies in 1951.
For India, there were many heroes.
From Sundar to Pant to Pujara to Thakur to Siraj…the list can go on ad on.
Australia required just three wickets to snatch the series in their favour, but a sensational last-ditch 49 partnership from ethereal Indian keeper Rishabh Pant and debutant Washington Sundar blasted the makeshift Indian team into the annals of Test history, chasing down a target of 328.
Pant’s heroic 89 not-out, which at times ventured into T20 territory, saw India claim the Brisbane Test with just a handful of balls in play.
This Indian team was a far cry from the one that got bowled out for 36 in Adelaide.
A draw would have been enough to retain the trophy for India, after their historic series victory in 2018/19, but the impressive side went all out and charged home, scoring 51 off the last five overs to win.
Pujara was resolute in defence, while Gill played the role of the cautious aggressor. The latter played some fantastic shots, most notably when he uppercut Mitchell Starc for six over third man in the last over of the session.
The solid but steady start brought India into the game, and they carried on in the same vein after lunch. Pujara copped a barrage of short balls and wore several of them on the body — and took a few more on the helmet — but refused to give his wicket away.
Meanwhile Gill continued his attack, and after taking Starc for 20 in one particularly poor over for the out of form quick, the young opener was on track for a first Test century.
His fine innings would fall just short of the milestone though, ended by an edge to Steve Smith at first slip off a relatively straight Nathan Lyon delivery.
That brought Ajinkya Rahane to the crease, and the captain looked to keep India’s momentum going with some assertive strokeplay and aggressive running between wickets.
He raced to 24, but was undone by a Cummins short ball which kept a little low. Rahane’s attempt at a ramp over the slips resulted in nothing more than a simple catch to Paine.
India rolled the dice and brought Pant to the crease early — a clear sign of intent — and he and a battered and bruised Pujara saw India to tea with Australia still needing seven wickets, and India 145 runs for victory.
Explosive wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant, who was not picked for the first game, hit the winning runs as he completed a match-winning 89.
Late hitting from Pant and debutant Washington Sundar (22 off 29) saw the depleted tourists home, ending Australia’s unbeaten streak at the ground, which lasted more than 32 years.
As evidence of the spare-parts nature of this team, the win was set up by 91 from rookie opener Shubman Gill, who also was not picked for the series opener and was playing in just his third Test, and veteran Cheteshwar Pujara, who held off the Australian attack with a masterful 56 off 211.
It marks the third straight series win against Australia for India, and two in a row on Australian soil.
Kudos to this Indian team who have written their names into history!
India 389 for 7 (Gill 91, Pant 89*, Pujara 56, Cummins 4-55) and 336 beat Australia369 and 294 by three wickets