India have won! India have won a test match in Australia!
The Return of the Indians
Well, there was no Steve Bucknor this time or else Ponting & Co. could have more or less won this match also. India deserved a win in this series but it came only in the third test. This win will definitely be one of the most memorable one for India.
Coming back from the best-to-forget Sydney test, Kumble led an inspired Indian attack at Perth on the famous WACA pitch. Known for the speed demons that usually assist the Australia pace bowlers to shred the opposition to pieces, it was the turn of the Indian pacers to turn the tables on Australia this time.
This test has seen some terrific bowling from young pacers like Ishant Sharma, Irfan Pathan, RP Singh while experienced campaigner Kumble has been leading the team from the front with some fantastic bowling and decisions. Ishant Sharma deserves a special mention here for the One-Hour-Special bowling in the second innings to Ricky Ponting to get rid of him. Ponting would definitely remember this.
On the other side India fared well in batting also. The trio of Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly kept the scoreboard busy. And the very very special Laxman DU (that is Laxman Version: Down Under) who batted exceptionally well in the series till now with a century and half century under his belt. His valuable knock of 79 in the second innings set up the match for India and a chance to go for the kill.
Kumble – The Jumbo Bowler
In the midst of all that happened at Perth, Kumble quietly moved into the 600 wicket club. Nothing would have him pleased as much as scalping the wicket of the so-very-lucky Symonds as his 600th victim. He is certainly relishing the captaincy. Kumble has been quite successful in the last few series on the Australian pitches known for assisting pace bowling. He is also the joint highest wicket taker(19) in this series along with Brett Lee.
It is also interesting to note that India has the best record Down Under since 1991.
Since India’s disastrous tour in 1991-92, the teams have met 21 times in Test cricket; the numbers now stand at 10-8 in Australia’s favour. In the corresponding period Australia’s record stands at 27-9 against England, 12-2 against Pakistan, 15-4 against South Africa and 9-1 against Sri Lanka.
Only England fares a shade better than the other teams. Ricky Ponting must be panting after getting Australia to win 16 tests on the trot. Australians, I guess, would now plan carefully not to play India the next time they want to set up some record. They have reasons to worry, India has denied them the 17 wins-on-a-trot record twice.
Cricket Down and Under
Cricket, I believe, no longer is the gentleman’s game. What with the kind of tactics teams adopt to win, especially Australia. The less said the better about the way the issues of racism, verbal duels between players and poor umpiring have been handled in this series until now.
If there is something that hasn’t changed in this series that is the standard of umpiring. Some poor decisions were to be seen even in this match that denied Sachin another almost certain century. Of course Sachin by now would have got used to the decisions but not the Australian players like Hussey and Symonds who have been quite lucky in this series.