Host broadcaster star sports labelled this series as #TESTOFTHEBEST when all the pre- series evidence was pointing towards a one-sided affair.. In a remarkable turn of events in Ranchi on fifth day of the third test, Peter Handscombe and Shaun marsh managed to survive a full session after lunch and close to 90 minutes after tea to save Australia from losing the test match that india had in their pockets when Australia were teetering at 63/4 having lost both smith and Renshaw. Ishant’s fiery spell to remove Renshaw and smith’s another moment of brain fade while facing jadeja had put India on course to a seemingly inevitable win, Australia’s goose was cooked but like this whole series till now things didn’t go as they were meant to be for India. Australian batsmen continued to show the fight, handscombe and marsh refused to give in to the pressure of close in fielders and demanding conditions, aussie spirit wasn’t crushed by the horror of spending 210 overs in the field without bowling the opposition out, Australian batsmen were worried but weren’t terrorized by the thought of Jadeja bowling hand grenades from the rough outside left hander’s off stump. At the close of play on day 5 Australia had managed to achieve very rare feet of batting out a draw on day 5 in subcontinent against the world’s best spinners. All the confidence gained by this extraordinarily resilient effort was evident in after-match press conference of Steve smith where he aptly put things in perspective as it turned out Australia managed to wrestle back momentum from India going into the decider at Dharmashala.
Three matches into this “full of surprises” border gavaskar series and fifth day in ranchi proved to be yet another unpleasant surprise for Indian supporters. Nothing has gone according to the script for India in this series, fans must be wondering what is happening to this goddamn world, are we just having a bad dream? A quick glance at Cricinfo is showing the series to be level at 1-1 with one to play, are we playing Aussies in their own backyard or is cricinfo’s site gone crazy? it wasn’t long ago when an inexperienced sri-lankan team which our guys beat 2-1 in their own backyard thrashed Australia 3-0, it was pretty recent that south Africa just gave the aussies a nice touch up in their own conditions.
We are the no. 1 team and no. 1 by a fair margin in ICC rankings, we don’t just beat oppositions here we make them think twice about touring india again, we don’t just win matches in india we destroy oppositions spirit in the process. Our own bhajji has remarked us this is the weakest Australian team to tour india, we toyed with them last time when England just beat us 2-1, its going to be a blood bath for Australia on this occasion as we have just laughed in England’s face couple of months ago and sent them packing with their tails between the legs. Aussies are a no match, they will be humiliated, they might not tour subcontinent after this trip, virat kohli will probably score a 1000 runs and might break Brian lara’s record of highest score in a test innings by a batsman, Ashwin and jadeja will eat up the Australian batting line-up like we gobble up an “aloo paranthas” with butter. Steve smith, well he is just a flat track bully, ashwin’s variations will mesmerise him, warner can’t buy a run in India and Starc will be milked by this great Indian batting line up.
What is happening? Have we just lost in pune after a record undefeated streak? Did Australia just humiliate us on a rank turner? Did we just saw virat kohli leaving a ball which he could have hit for a six with his eyes closed? has a middle of the road spinner like okeefe who might not get into a ranji side if he was an indian took 12 wickets? It can’t be, it must be a fluke, Australia have done what they shouldn’t have, they have crossed the line, they have poked the bear, they were never meant to compete let alone win but now they must pay for it, now they must face the wrath of angry kohli and his hurting men, they will be annhilated in the next three matches.
Bengaluru, the home-ground of our beloved captain, this is where we stamp ourselves on the aussies, this is where we show them who’s the boss. No not again, not another leave, not another brain fade, not another kohli failure, this is impossible, are we in some parallel universe? How are they able to play Ashwin so easily? We won but why couldn’t we embarrass them? how can a batsman with shoddy technique like smith who’s batting looks ugly as a toad score heaps and apple of our eyes king kohli continues leave us shocked by leaving balls. This was not supposed to happen, Australia were destined to bow down to the ball ripped past david warner’s bat edge in first half hour of this series. But we have the momentum now, we will grind them into the ranchi dust. We have kl Rahul who made batting look like child’s play on a venomous surface, we have monk pujara who can bat for an eternity, we have our own sir ravi jadeja who can send chill down the spine of any opposition even by his sword celebration and last but not the least captain king is yet to score his complementary double century of the series.
So, what we lost the toss? So, what if Australia scored 450? So, what if the pitch looks like a rolled mud? we will own ranchi, it’s the hometown of our most favourite captain, even god can’t help Australia here. Here comes the king kohli, Australia mocked his injury, Maxwell committed the sin, he has lost Australia this series, they will now have to feel the destructive force of his bat.
We feel like crying, World is coming to an end, this is unfathomable, Kohli fails again, how on earth is this possible? May be its another lean patch, may be after scoring so many runs he has gotten bored, may be Australia has worked him out, we don’t know. But this wasn’t supposed to happen, he is the best batsman, he is the bullying lion, Australia are irritating him in his own den, he should have crushed them by now but instead it looks like they have shot him by a tranquilizer. Match isn’t over, series is still on the line. Pujara and Saha are doing are doing Laxman and Dravid, pujari seems to be batting since beginning of time, Australia has started to question the very existence of test cricket after 210 overs in the field, every ball bowled by sir Jadeja is like a missile from a bazooka, this is India vs England all over again, is this the day we murder the soul of Australian cricket team? Have just dismantled Australia even without our captain’s performances? Oh! look Steven smith has done a Kohli, yesterday’s mind numbing toil has gotten to him. this is it, we have done it, can we wrap this up in an hour, can we win by an innings?
Oh! my holy god, this is not happening again, why can’t we get these spring chickens out? Why the pitch is suddenly seeming flat as a pancake? What happened to Ashwin’s gazillions of variations? how come unplayable sir jadeja now looking threat less? can we have a mega collapse here? We should be jumping up and down like a like cat on a hot tin roof by now, why are these two spoiling our party? This is agonizing watching these two block ball after ball, this was note the fate we wanted to experience, we were not prepared for an aussie fight, we thought they were here to just fill up the numbers, they were meant to drop like flies while we mock their subcontinental record in their faces, but this is cricket, sometimes it’s like life, not everything goes as expected. Australia competed, they won, they dominated, they surprised. Is this what Australia’s “never say never” spirit all about? Is this why they say never count your chickens too early? is this the reason cricket is called the game of glorious uncertainties?
We now head to the hills. Will the home of Dalai lama bring any joy? News is that ball flies there, isn’t that what our opposition wants? is it all over? Has Elvis left the building? Is this how our most successful home season till now hit the sack? Smith says momentum is with them, is that true? Are we going to lose this series from the people whose country’s media disrespected our captain? Maybe not, maybe kohli is down but not out, maybe he is hurting but that desire is still burning inside him, maybe he will destroy Australia with his bat acting as a weapon of mass destruction, maybe india underestimated the aussies but now will swarm them in the next match or maybe Australia will continue to fight, they might continue their defiance. As of now All this is a question mark.
Whatever happens, it promises to be a spectacle in the lap of Himalayas. By the time next match is concluded, we might just find how good this Australian team really are or it might just be the start of the new era of world domination by this Indian team. Plenty is at the stake when two teams go head to head on Saturday, so much so that the wait is unbearable and seconds are seeming like hours. It’s not about skills anymore, it’s about the mental toughness, team which has that edge like a sharp razor will be seen holding the border gavaskar trophy come the concluding session of the next test match.