Not too long ago, cricket fans all over the world praised Australia for their attitude of coming from nowhere and winning a test match or winning or sometimes leveling the series. Yes, they were masters at it, mainly because they had team-work. The famous bowling trio of Warne-Lee-Mcgrath invariably took 20 wickets, the most crucial aspect of winning a test match, and then the batsmen always did their part as a unit. They all made their captains: Waugh or Ponting proud. Even most Indian fans would fancy Australia to win in a series against India.
Well team India, at P Sara Oval, displayed, why they deserved the #1 rank, as they came back from nowhere to win the test and level the series. It was a classic test with its twists and turns, but team India managed to come up on top. Chips were down, Sehwag fell for a duck, the wall had crumbled, and team was in dire-straits at 62-4, chasing 257, all the Indian fans looked up to their God. Just like on many other occasions, this time too he delivered. He began the positive attitude even after losing Sharma in the morning, that later rubbed on to Laxman and the pair went to add valuable 109. Sachin has now exorcised the ghosts of Chennai, not once but twice.
This was the fifth time team India chased a target in excess of 200 in a final innings of a test, since Sachin began his career. Sachin didn’t play in one of them (Srilanka 2001), and in the remaining four his contributions are: 37 v Australia (2003), 56* v Pakistan (2007), 103* v England (2008) and 54 v Srilanka (2010). The bat has yet again silenced the critics and their baseless allegations of always failing in the fourth innings and not being a match winner for India. However, Sachin would be the first one to admit that all these wins were not work of one man, rather team work: Dravid-Laxman (2003), Sachin-Sourav (2007), Sachin-Sehwag-Yuvi (2008), and Sachin-Laxman (2010).
The other hero of India’s successful chase was the wrist-man VVS Laxman. He played different roles and changed gears wonderfully. Took his time to settle in as Sachin was going positive at the other end, then became a aggressive, and when Raina came in, he dropped anchor again to see his team through. It was a truly mature innings and a first one for him to see India through in a tense chase. This also completes one successful unbeaten crucial knock by each one of the fab-fours in 4 of the India’s recent successful chases over 200. Laxman, battled back problems, in the second half of his innings, used a runner, however, ensured the team’s safety with a classic ton. It was his 16th and he would definitely cherish this one just like his 281 at Eden Gardens.
Suresh Raina also showed a lot of maturity and at least in the first two tests he has announced that he’s here to stay. It was bowlers, in the first session of the fourth morning, which turned the game in India’s favor. One again, underlines the importance of team-work. Many critics and media pundits who were eager to announce Waugh or Ponting as match winners and criticize Sachin, merely based on weather their teams ended up winning or losing, simply forgot that it takes two to tango and eleven to win.
Chak De, Chak De, Chak De India……
-Nikhil Sharad Jadhav