Border-Gavaskar Trophy, 2018/19
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG), Sydney
Date: 03 January-07 January, 2019
RR: 1.5 | Australia drew with India
So, after four enthralling games of Test cricket, the red-ball format comes to an end here. India's performance was better than ever before. Australia fought hard but they appeared a notch lower than their opponents. T20Is shared 1-1, Tests 2-1 to India. Over to the final leg of the tour, the 50-over format after a gap of 4 days now. The first game will be played at the Sydney Cricket Ground on the 12th of January and will begin at 1320 local (0220 GMT). Join us for the coverage of that! Till then, take care and goodbye. Cheers!
Time for the trophy presentation! The Border-Gavaskar trophy is handed over to Virat Kohli by Allan Border. The whole Indian team comes and joins the skipper on the podium. The newest entrant to the team, Mayank Agarwal holds the trophy aloft, it has been the tradition for some time now. Time for the shutterbugs! What an incredible achievement for Indian cricket, they become only the fifth visiting side after England, Windies, New Zealand and South Africa to win a Test series in Australia.
Victorious Indian skipper, Virat Kohli walks forward for an interview amidst a huge cheer from the crowd. Says that he has never been more proud to be a part of a team than this one right here. Says that their transition started here when he became captain and winning the series for the first time in this country is really special. Is delighted to be a part of this team and he feels honored leading them. Praises all his boys for their outstanding contribution. Of all his achievements, he considers this series win his best, definitely top of the pile. States that this will give his team a different identity and they can inspire the young generation. On the performance, Kohli replies that they just wanted to do the basics right and not be flamboyant. A special mention for Cheteshwar Pujara by the Indian captain as he adds that especially after the kind of series he had here last time, he took it in his stride and worked on his game. Lauds Mayank Agarwal as well and praises him for the way he stepped in and batted like a champion. As a batting group, Kohli says that everyone contributed and mentions Pant's batting also which was impactful. On their bowling, Kohli replies that the way the bowlers have dictated terms is something he has not seen or experienced before. Praises the way they prepared themselves and worked on the plans and advises the young bowlers back home to learn from them. Opines that this is the stepping stone for them and says that they believed in themselves and now have the result to back that belief. Adds that they have been honest with their work and want to take the Indian cricket forward. Hopes that this is the stepping stone for great things to come in future. On the home team, Kohli feels that every team goes through a transition period and wishes Australia all the best for future. Smiles and says that they all deserve to celebrate and enjoy themselves and sink in that feeling that they have won. Thanks the crowd for all the support.
Australian skipper, Tim Paine agrees that India were the better team and it is a huge thing to go overseas and win a Test series, congratulates them for the same. Feels that they were outplayed over the course of the series obviously but also mentions they did fight hard and is proud of his boys. Adds that the visitors played better more often than them and took the series win deservedly. Says there are a lot of positives to be taken out of the series and a learning curve for all the boys, especially the bowling attack which is one of the best in the world, he feels. Looks forward to the series coming up against Sri Lanka and the Ashes later on. Reckons they have to just be positive and try to keep working harder as they prepare for the future series by putting their foot down and working relentlessly. Opines that there is a lot of talent in the country, even not playing currently. He tells them to keep playing and scoring runs, in his words 'that is the currency in cricket'. Ends by saying that he is not under any mental pressure and the players will take a couple of days off before heading off to play for their respective BBL franchises.
Player of the Match and Series, Cheteshwar Pujara walks to the podium with a big smile on his face. The crowd is making a lot of noise. He says that it's a great feeling for them and they have worked hard to win a series, particularly in this country. Adds that he is pleased with the effort. Further says that the Adelaide hundred was really special. Mentions that as a batsman you just need to get used to the pace and bounce, something he has worked on and playing county cricket has helped him improve his technique. Congratulates all the fast bowlers and spinners for the way they bowled which he feels was remarkable. Informs that he will be playing some First Class cricket back home and some county cricket as well. Adds that he wants to play white-ball cricket but Test cricket will always remain his priority.
Thus all in all, what started off as a competitive series in Adelaide with the hosts fighting till the end and losing, then coming back in Perth to square the series 1-1, just turned out too easy in the end for India. It felt like Australia ran out of steam mid-way and the visitors took full toll of it. Melbourne was a thrashing of sorts and Sydney could have been worse if not for the weather coming to the hosts' rescue. In the end, a 2-1 result that could have been easily 3-1. The scoreline won't matter as much to the Indians as the fact that they won their first Test series Down Under and retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy in style. Stay tuned for the final presentation of the Test series.
Even in the bowling department, the Indians were much more dogged in their approach and did not let the hosts off the hook. The pace troika of Bumrah, Shami and Ishant worked relentlessly and played a massive role in the absence of Ashwin post the Adelaide Test. Lyon and to an extent, Cummins were brilliant but Hazlewood and Starc were a mere shadow of themselves on this tour. The fielding was also good at most parts during the series from both teams. What stood out glaringly though was the instinctive captaincy of Virat Kohli. Make no mistake, Paine was inspirational and did the best with the resources at his disposal but Kohli was one step ahead, forcing the things he wanted with constant changes to the field and bowling, especially in the final two Tests. All of these small factors added up to help India reach this monumental, never seen before success on Australian soil.
If one goes to see, throughout the series, India have been considerably better in all three aspects. The fact that Pujara alone had three centuries and the Aussies had none underlines their inability to play long knocks which was the need of the hour. India declared their last three innings of the tour whereas Australia found it difficult to bat big with 326 being their highest team score of the series. The Indian openers who started off the tour, KL Rahul and Murali Vijay were both dropped after a poor string of scores. Mayank Agarwal who came in as a replacement for Prithvi Shaw took his place in the playing XI and played really well in the two games he got. Rishabh Pant outscoring Virat Kohli in the series really tells us a lot too. As for the Aussies, Marcus Harris and Travis Head were the two batsmen who really tried their best but it still wasn't good enough. Sometimes it felt that the runs they made were mostly from contributions by the lower order. Pat Cummins was a genuine all-rounder as he did well with both bat and ball, giving it everything.
Coming to this game, what promised so much after the first 3 days completely turned out to be one that just promised but did not deliver due to the weather conditions. The Indians batted first after Kohli called right at the coin-flip and batted big, scoring 622/7 before declaring. Pujara and Pant came up with massive centuries to propel the score to such a huge one. The Aussies then came out to bat and looked to be going well at one stage, being 128/1, but lost their way and ended Day 3 at 236/6. An hour of play was lost on Day 3. Day 4 saw only 25.2 overs being bowled and the Aussies folded for 300 in their first attempt as Kuldeep Yadav picked up a fifer. Following on (for the first time at home in last three decades), the Aussies then came out to bat for just 4 overs before light became really poor once more and the game was called off for the day eventually. The final day did not even see a ball being bowled due to some persistent drizzle that just did not leave us in the end. About an hour after the Lunch break, the officials and the captains met and decided to end the game considering the conditions around.
71 years! And finally, India have their first Test series win ever in Australia. Kohli and his boys have re-written history out here, playing brilliant cricket over the last one and a half month. It was quite an anti-climatic end to what has been an entertaining series! This game ends in a draw, a rather damp squib but the series has been anything but that. The visitors went 1-0 up in Adelaide, while the hosts roared back in Perth to make it 1-1, but then began India's dominance. They won in Melbourne and made it 2-1 and were just relentless post that. Even in Sydney, they were well-ahead before rain ruined any chance of a result. What a proud and historic moment for the Asian team!
CALLED OFF! The game has officially been ended by the captains and officials after consulting the ground staff. The Sydney match ends in a draw but INDIA WIN THE BORDER-GAVASKAR TROPHY 2-1!!!
Update 1417 local - Nothing new to update. But we might get the final verdict any time soon. There will be an inspection at 1430 local and it could be called off. Stay tuned for more updates.
Update 1317 local - The rain has not stopped. There will be another delay post Lunch. India in my opinion, will be already planning the celebrations in the dressing room.
Tim Paine in an interview earlier this morning with Mark Howard. He felt that it is a great opportunity to get some batting on Day 5 if the weather clears out. Reckons that it was a really good series and even though they were outplayed, he felt they fought pretty hard and will take the positives ahead, is proud of the way they gave their all. Mentions that India is a really tough team to beat right now, no. 1 in the world and a couple of guys really were in form and took the series away. Also adds that he enjoys captaincy and takes it as a challenge and the jobs that come along with it. Feels it really doesn't make a difference captaining from behind the wicket and is all the same. Says that he always wants to be a 100 percent ready and concentrated when he walks out to bat and hence, is going to hit the nets for some practice even as the rain delays play. Signs off by saying that he might take a bit of rest post the Test series and decide about turning up for Hobart as he intends to remain fit for the Sri Lanka series coming up.
Update 1230 local - It is officially Lunch time on Day 5. A very light drizzle is still on.
Update 1210 local - News coming in is that the first session has been washed out. Lunch will be taken at 1230 local and play could resume at 1310 local if the rain stops and the light is good enough. It is a big IF...
Update 1015 local - Bad news, folks. The rain has picked up its intensity and it's pelting down at the SCG. The fresh images coming from the ground is not looking promising at all. Both teams won't be too bothered currently. India have the trophy and Australia don't have to come out to grind and avoid another Test loss. Should make peace with 2-1. Let's see whether we get any action in this morning session or not. Stay with us.
Update 1001 local - We do have a delayed start. Further news is awaited from the SCG.
Today is not about winning and losing anymore. History will be written today by the Indians, that is a given. For the Aussies, it is about resolve and steel. Can they come out today one last time and show what they are made of? Could happen! Their cause could also be helped by the fact that the weather forecast is not looking too promising. It is currently gloomy around the stadium with clouds hovering around. The rain has stayed away but the light is still not so promising. Oh well, just as I type this, a little drizzle has also started and the pitch is being covered. After a good Test series, this kind of end would not be wanted by a cricketing fan. Let's hope for the weather to clear and the game to get going on Day 5. There will be a delay in the start of play.
Coming to the cricket on hand, Australia trail the visitors by 316 runs in their second dig, following-on. Forget the runs, they just have to bat for whatever amount of overs India hurl at them today to salvage a draw and bring some respect to the scoreline. No David Warner, no Steven Smith but still this kind of a result is unacceptable to any Australian team. That says a lot about how well India has played throughout the series. Their ability to pick wickets at frequent intervals has really helped them bog the hosts' batting down. Someone or the other has stepped up in virtually every innings and it has been a collective bowling effort from India that has derailed the Aussie bandwagon. So much so, Jasprit Bumrah is the joint-highest wicket taker in the series along with Nathan Lyon with 21 wickets so far and has a chance to go past him during the day's play. Even in batting, the Indians have 5 hundreds over the 4 games whereas their opposition have none. The difference is even more stark there.
Welcome to Day 5 of this magnificent Pink Test at the SCG, also to the last day of action in whites between these two sides in India's tour Down Under. 2-1 and that could be the final scoreline as there is no time left for the Aussies to do anything about this game. The only variable would be 3-1 if India do manage to bowl out the hosts today. That seems far-fetched considering what we went through yesterday and the amount of cricket we got to see. But one thing is for sure, Kohli's boys will be creating history by winning their first ever Test series in Australia since their sojourns started 71 years back.
... Day 5, Session 1 ...
Believe it or not! The forecast for Day 5 is exactly the same as it was on Day 4 and the hosts will be really happy if it turns out that way. The Indians can only hope that the sun decides to turn up somehow and allow for play on Monday. Whatever happens, what we will be seeing is Virat Kohli receiving the Border-Gavaskar trophy. The start scheduled is an early one again, at 1000 local (2300 GMT, previous night). Join us for all the action from the SCG. Take care and cheers till then. Goodbye!
CALLED OFF! So that's that. An end to what has been a frustrating on and off day of Test cricket where we have had only a little more than 25 overs of play throughout. The bad light and rain have caused havoc here on the penultimate day, which saw India ending the first innings of the hosts and then enforcing them to follow-on, something which has rather rarely come upon the Aussies, especially at home. But somehow, they now have just a day more to survive to escape this game with a draw and the series with a 1-2 scoreline.
Update 1715 local - The umpires are out for inspection. The condition of light has not improved much. It appears the final verdict on the day's play will be coming any time soon. Stay with us to know more.
Update 1646 local - No we haven't slept. It's just that there are no more fresh updates coming from the ground. There was an inspection which was scheduled around 15 minutes back but we have not heard anything from the officials yet. We can't do much here. The wait continues...
Update 1612 local - The news coming in is that we aren't resuming any time soon. The umpires will have another inspection in about 15 minutes. The current light isn't good enough according to them and the pitch is seen being covered as well for now. No rain but this bad light situation has been really infuriating all day.
Update 1605 local - The game was supposed to resume at 1603 local but the umpires are walking out and neither do they have their hats on, nor are the players following them. There is a meter to check the light in their hands as well. A certain delay post Tea here, due to bad light.
... Day 4, Session 3 ...
We will have to wait and see if the light improves, this could be really frustrating for the Indians but a welcome break for the Aussies. They won't mind time getting killed in this Test match. A win seems impossible here for the hosts and they'd like to save the Test at the least. Hopefully though, we should get action post Tea if the light becomes better. Do join us in a short while for the last session.
A very good session for India. After the start of play today was delayed almost for four hours, the visitors came onto the field and bowled to a set plan. Australia managed to add 64 runs to their overnight score before being bowled out finally for 300. India immediately decided to enforce follow-on and the bowlers came hard for a four over burst before the light turned bad once more. Australia were 6 for no loss when the play was stopped, also forcing an early Tea on Day 4.
It has turned gloomy! In fact, the umpires get together and have decided to take the players off the field. Umpire Gould has a word with the Indian skipper regarding that. Tea has been taken!
Jasprit Bumrah to share the cherry and bowl from the other end.