Melbourne: India took giant strides towards winning their first ever series on Australian soil in seven decades by retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a comprehensive 137-run win in the third Test on Sunday.
Taking an unassailable 2-1 lead in the four-match series, India will retain the coveted trophy even if the series is drawn level at Sydney as they have won the previous series at home in 2017.
The Indian players then went to thank their fans after the post-match ceremonies and Captain Virat Kohli went on to make a young fan’s day even special by gifting him his pads, along with an autograph on the child’s miniature bat after the grand win on Sunday.
Kohli, along with the Indian team thanked the fans at MCG who braved the rain to turn up at the stadium on Day 5 and cheered for them throughout the match.
Australia needed 141 runs on the final day with two wickets in hand. But it took only 27 balls on the fifth day afternoon as Jasprit Bumrah (3/53) and Ishant Sharma (2/40) completed the formalities in India’s 150th Test victory.
After losing out the first session due to steady showers, Australia could only add three runs to their overnight score of 258 for 8 as they were all out for 261 in 89.3 overs.
India thus won a Test match at the iconic MCG after 37 long years when Sunil Gavaskar’s men beat Greg Chappell’s side in the 1980-81 series.
Virat Kohli was delighted and attributed their success to their ability to complement each other, “We knew that it would be tough for Australia, but credit to our bowlers, especially Jasprit. The three fast bowlers have broken the record for most wickets by pacers in a calendar year for a team, which is brilliant.”
“I certainly feel proud as a captain when they bowl in partnerships. No one is looking to out-bowl each other. Our first-class cricket is amazing, which is why we won. Credit must go to first-class set-up in India, which challenges our fast bowlers in India, and that helps them abroad,” the skipper said.
Even Bumrah spoke about how India’s first-class set-up has him a better bowler, “My aim is to always focus on consistency. We train very hard and we are used to bowling a lot of overs in Ranji Cricket, so the body is doing well. My focus is on the next Test now.”
Having got only better since his debut in South Africa, Bumrah is hopeful that better things await for him in near future.
“It was always a dream to play Test cricket and I was really happy when I debuted in South Africa. I started learning slowly, in England it was a different experience. Coming to Australia has been a different experience as well. The start has been good, and hopefully, I will keep getting better,” the bowler said.
Bumrah’s skipper is confident that his men won’t take their feet off the pedal and win the series 3-1.
“We are not going to stop here. This (win) will give us more confidence and we will play more positively in Sydney. I think we have been really smart in all the departments in the two matches that we have won,” Kohli said.
“That is the reason we have at least retained the trophy but job is not done yet. It’s not finished at all. We want to win the last Test match as well, if an opportunity comes our way. We don’t want to be complacent. We are all but ready for the final Test match,” added the captain.
Let’s take a look at how Twitterati praised Team India:
(With inputs from Agencies)