When India went into bat in their first innings, at the stroke of lunch at day three, a draw seemed the most likely result. Day one of the Test had been completely washed out due to rain, and Australia came up with their most competent batting performance of the series to notch up an impressive score of 408 batting first. It needed something sensational from the Indians to make a match out of it. Over the years, they have heavily depended on Mr. Virender Sehwag for that something special. But, having run into woeful form, he is no longer part of the squad. In a wonderful co-incidence, India found a new hero, who learnt a lot from the man he replaced.
Shikhar Dhawan was playing in his debut Test. As such he would have been expected to be slightly nervous. Everyone would have thought that he would be keen to make a decent score to secure his place in the team for the next few games. Well, he has made the position his own for more than a few Tests after his sensational knock at Mohali, although he may miss the Delhi Test due to the injury he has picked up. What’s Dhawan’s spectacular innings over two sessions on day three, when he murdered the Aussie bowling, did was give the Indian bowlers enough time to bowl out the Australians a second time round, and leave their batsmen with just about enough time to cross the finish line.
Dhawan’s knock at Mohali was the match-defining one without doubt, but there were a few other pertinent performances from the Indian camp that also deserve a mention. The Indian bowlers fought back exceedingly well in the first innings after Australia had got off to a brilliant start. Ravindra Jadeja was yet again India’s star with the ball, in both the innings. He got the first two wickets for India in Australia’s first dig, and picked up opposition skipper Michael Clarke in both the innings yet again. Jadeja’s potent bowling performance has been a big plus for India in this series, something which they clearly missed against the Englishmen.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar was another bowler who stood up to the challenge. Late on day four, when India collapsed from 384 for 2 to 499 all out, it seemed they had thrown away their chance of pulling off an anyways unexpected win. But Kumar’s deadly blows late on the penultimate day gave India plenty of hope as they headed into the final day. Earlier, he also made a significant contribution with the bat, aiding Virat Kohli in building a partnership that stretched India’s lead to substantial proportions. Kumar’s constant improvement with both bat and ball is a definite positive sign for the Indians.
In all the euphoria surrounding Dhawan mania, one shouldn’t forget that another man also got a big hundred. Murali Vijay has shown drastic improvement since his poor showing in the last few Tests. If Dhawan’s ton set up India’s victory hunt, Vijay’s second consecutive 150 of the series ensured that India continued to have their noses ahead in the contest. In the end, his supporting act was also a major factor in India’s triumph.
--By A Cricket Analyst