What a performance by India
I wrote last week that the only way to shut Australia up was to beat them. That India had to concentrate on their game, remain united and use all of the off-field shenanigans as inspiration.
They’ve done that brilliantly. To come from behind and win this series when everything was against them is a phenomenal performance, it really is.
Full credit to Ravi Shastri and Ajinkya Rahane. They’ve really come to the party and put on a show that will be remembered for a very long time.
Rishabh Pant turns from a boy to a man
India’s team mentality was unbelievable, but you still need your best players to stand up and be counted. Fortunately, they found a little gem in Rishabh Pant.
India’s strength in depth is yet another nod to the IPL, which is the greatest academy for cricket in the world.
Pant is inconsistent and has been inconsistent for a while. I remember criticising him in the IPL, saying that he just gets out exactly the same way time after time.
I hope for India’s sake and for his sake that what he’s achieved over the last five days turns him from a boy into a man, in cricketing terms, because he’s so talented and exciting.
He can hit the ball wherever he wants to hit the ball, but he’s never really played the situation and I feel the way that he guided India to victory showed that he can do it. He can do more than just play one way.
He can be inspired by his performance and the way that he guided India home.
Pant and the other even more inexperienced members of this India team represent yet another nod to the IPL, which is the greatest academy for cricket in the world and the product of India’s unbelievable strength in depth.
You’ve got young players coming into this intense arena who have played with and against lots of the Australian stars before.
That fear of international superstars doesn’t exist – they are team-mates in their IPL franchises, they’ve whacked them all over the place or they’ve knocked them over.
It was a stroke of genius from Lalit Modi and the BCCI to create a league which has enabled Indian players to flourish home and away. They are reaping the rewards now.
Tim Paine is not an Australia captain
Australians don’t like to lose and the knives will be out for a few members of that team after this defeat.
We heard Tim Paine tell Ravichandran Ashwin that he “can’t wait to get you to the Gabba” – well they’ve been whacked at the Gabba, so where are they going to go now?
I believe that Cricket Australia will soon be looking for a new captain – Paine has never, ever been up to it.
He got chucked into that position when Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft got caught up in the sandpaper controversy, but from my perspective, having played against him and watched him, he’s not an Australia captain. He’s just not a good enough player, apart from anything else.
I would never have made him captain in the first place, and he’s probably never going to lead them into another Test match.
England have lots of work to do
England still have another Test match to play against Sri Lanka, but India’s victory in Australia means that everybody has one eye on the series between the two starting in a few weeks.
Though England did well to win the first Test against Sri Lanka, they still have along way to go if they are to have a successful few months in the subcontinent.
The top order, particularly, has a few weeks of hard graft to do – the evidence from the first Test in Sri Lanka suggests that Dom Sibley and Zak Crawley are going to struggle against spin. India will not be afraid to open with a spinner and keep them going all day from at least one end.
I was mightily impressed with Dan Lawrence. The way that he used his feet and the technique that he used against the spinners was a big plus.
And, clearly, a double hundred is a great start to a big year for Joe Root, although I never had too many concerns with him. I think he’s a good captain who’s going to score runs, but you can’t afford to keep being 10-2 when he comes in, so the openers must improve.
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