Gujarat cricketers Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah played important roles as India scripted a historic test series win against Aussies on Australian soil for the first time on Monday. Having already retained the Border Gavaskar Trophy thanks to their win at Adelaide and Melbourne, the number one-ranked India clinched the four-Test series 2-1 as the fifth day of the final Test in Sydney concluded in a draw due to persistent rain.
Cheteshwar Pujara has been adjudged the Player of the Series for his splendid 521 runs, which includes three tons at an average of 74. "It is a great feeling for all of us. We have been working hard to win a series overseas, and winning in Australia has never been easy. And really pleased with my contribution. For me, the first hundred was special. Scoring a ton at Adelaide and going 1-0 up is what we were aiming for," Pujara said at the post-match presentation.
"This is the best Indian side I have been part of. And I would also like to congratulate all our bowlers. We have had four bowlers, and it is not easy taking 20 wickets, so credit goes to all our fast bowlers and spinners," he added. The hosts Australia was bundled out for 300 on the fourth day, which also forced them to follow-on at home for the first time in 30 years. Last time the hosts had to follow-on was in a Test match against England in 1988. Usman Khawaja (4*) and Marcus Harris (2*) were holding the crease for Australia in their second innings before the day was called off and forced early stumps due to bad light and subsequent drizzle.
Australia were still 316 runs behind the visitor's massive first innings total. Kuldeep Yadav claimed five wickets, Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja shared four wickets each and Jasprit Bumrah picked up a piece to join the party. Opting to bat in the final Test, India took a commanding position as Cheteswar Pujara and stumper Rishabh Pant scored 193 and 159-run respectively to guide India to a massive 622/7 in their first innings.
Pujara was one of the main reason behind India's historic win as the Saurashtra batsman accumulated 328 runs from three games, averaging 54.67. Pujara also slammed three tons in the crucial Border-Gavaskar series. Kohli also effectively supported with 259 runs from three games. In the bowling department, pacer Jasprit Bumrah turned out to be the most effective bowler for the visitors after bagging 21 wickets from four games while his partner Mohammed Shami also scalped 16 wickets.
My biggest achievement, says Virat
India captain Kohli termed his team’s historic series win as his ‘biggest achievement’ which will give the current team a ‘different identity’. Eight summers back at the Wankhede, Kohli was the youngest member of a star-studded team led by Mahendra Singh Dhoni which lifted the World Cup but this according to him will remain on ‘top of the pile’.
“By far this is my best achievement. Has to be on top of the pile. When we won the World Cup, I was a young player. I saw the others getting emotional. This series will give us a different identity as a team. What we’ve been able to achieve is something to be really proud of,” Kohli said at the presentation ceremony.
He was all praise for Pujara and Bumrah. The skipper also praised young Mayank Agarwal and Rishabh Pant. “Want to give a special mention to Pujara. He’s one guy always willing to accept things. He’s the nicest man around. Special mention to Mayank Agarwal too. To come in on Boxing Day and play like that against a high quality attack. Someone like Rishabh as well, coming into his own and dominating attacks,” he said.