India created a history yesterday by regaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India is on its way to the No.1 spot in test cricket. It was not just one or two individuals who made this historic series win possible but a perfect team effort from India. Australia was outclassed in all the departments.
This series has seen two great Indian cricket legends retire, the wall cracking, master breaking the world record, Australians struggling in all the departments, Ishant evolving as one of the best bowlers in the world, Ponting under fire, and many more....
This is a sincere effort to review this entertaining series....
Opening: Sehwag and Gambhir proved they are the best opening pair. They have been very consistent and they provided excellent starts in this series. The left-right combination also gone well with this pair. The understanding between these two is amazing. They played an important role in putting up big totals by scoring the runs quickly. Vijay, who played last test match in place of Gambhir, also gave India good starts with Sehwag.
Middle Order: No doubt India has got the outstanding middle-order with players like Sachin, Laxman, Ganguly, Dravid and Dhoni. They all were upto their mark except Dravid who has to forget this series( in terms of his performance) as soon as possible. Sachin and Laxman came up with excellent innings at times they needed. Ganguly played well in his last test series. Dhoni too came up with good innings when the team was in trouble. This series is a disaster for Dravid in terms of batting and fielding. He dropped a few simple catches.
Pace Bowling: This was the major difference between the two teams in the series. Everyone thought that Indian pitches are not suitable for the pace bowlers. The job of pace bowlers is to make the ball old, give it to the spinners and let the spinners do the rest. But Zaheer and Ishant proved it wrong. They made good use of reverse-swing. Australian batsmen struggled against these two bowlers. They have taken 26 wickets together.
Spin Bowling: On Indian pitches, spinners have been threat to the visitors. This time it was not all their show though they contributed much to the series win. Anil Kumble was struggling in the first test and did not play the second test. He came back for the third test and yet he was not effective. He finally announced his retirement after he was injured during the third test. Amit Mishra, who replaced Kumble for the second and fourth tests and Harbhajan for the third test, was a hit on his debut match. But he had to fight hard in the third test. He came up with a good performance at an important time in the last test. Harbhajan was quite beautiful with his bowling. Actually he played an all-rounder role in this series. Sehwag too tried his hand at bowling and bowled well to take 5 wickets in the third test.
Fielding: Indian fielders missed a few simple catches. Dravid, Laxman, Dhoni and Ishant missed many catches among them. Had Ishant taken the catch of Clarke in the third test, we would have won the series 3-0. Viajy did excellent to run out Hussey, Hayden while Mishra did well to run out Ponting. On a whole, fielding is a bit disappointment. Fielding standards are average and India should concentrate on this.
Captaincy: Dhoni has already evolved as a successful captain in the shorter versions of the game. He is now the captain for India in all forms of the game after Anil Kumble announced his retirement during the third test. Dhoni had taken a very timely and wise decisions in the series (2nd and 4th tests) and India won both of them. Both Kumble and Dhoni were successful in inspiring the team. They came up with a plan and executed their plan to perfection without mistakes.
Opening: Hayden struggled through out the series, especially against Zaheer. He did well in the last match but could not win the match for Aussies. Katich was consistent throughout the series. But these openers failed to give good starts for Australia.
Middle Order: With the batsmen like Ponting, Hussey, Clarke, Watson and Haddin at the middle of the order, one would expect big partnerships among these batsmen. But that was never the case in this series. Hussey was impressive. Clarke made a century which helped them to draw the third test. Watson was OK... Haddin was a big disappointment with the bat and behind the stumps.
Pace Bowling: The fast bowlers had a lean time. If I had to pick one bowler from Australia who bowled quite well in this series, I would prefer Shane Watson. Watson bowled beautifully in the last test match. Mitchell Johnson bowled well and is the leading wicket taker for Australia in this series. Lee and Stuart Clark were average. The weakness of Australian bowlers was exposed when they could not break the partnership between Harbhajan and Zaheer in the first innings of the first test.
Spin Bowling: Australia struggled through out the series with their spin department. Krejza was very impressive in his debut match. He was smart and patient. White, Clarke and Katich were the other spinners who were below average.
Fielding: Fielding was good except for a few occasions where they dropped some catches. Haddin was not good behind the stumps. He gave away many byes.
Captaincy: Ponting never looked like a captain he used to be. A captain has to lead his team from the front. Except for a century in the first test, he did not play a big innings. His tactics in the last test match, where he used his part time bowlers instead of pace bowlers, raised questions over his captaincy. Instead of trying to win the test match, he was afraid of his ban because of slow over-rate and used his part-time bowlers. He could not inspire his team in this series.
India has to be consistent in order to be the No.1 in the test cricket... But with this hectic schedule, India need to protect its players from injuries by rotating the players which would otherwise be an obstacle for its aim to be No.1... India has a great bench strength in the form of many youngsters like Rohit Sharma, Badrinath, Suresh Raina, Vijay, Munaf RP Singh, Irfan Pathan etc...Use them wisely and protect the players...
Congratulations and all the best India....