Monday, Feb 26, 2024 | Last Update : 07:43 AM IST

  Sports   Cricket  03 Apr 2017  Wrap-up: Monkey face, loose rant and a sweet win

Wrap-up: Monkey face, loose rant and a sweet win

THE ASIAN AGE. | RAHUL BANERJI
Published : Apr 3, 2017, 2:00 am IST
Updated : Apr 3, 2017, 6:46 am IST

Pre-series, the hype was about whether or not Australia could avoid a 4-0 thrashing.

Virat Kohli with teammates celebrate after winning the cricket Test series against Australia in Dharamsala.
 Virat Kohli with teammates celebrate after winning the cricket Test series against Australia in Dharamsala.

India maintained their clean sheet at home at the end of a long and grinding season with a 2-1 series win over Australia to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy with a crushing victory in the final Test match at Dharamsala earlier last week, but the headlines were as much about controversy as they were about the cricket.

Pre-series, the hype was about whether or not Australia could avoid a 4-0 thrashing.

After all, India were coming off three straight clean sweeps, against Bangladesh (1-0), England (4-0) and New Zealand (3-0).

But India were quickly brought down to earth in the first Test, losing at Pune by a massive 333 runs, their second biggest ever thrashing in terms of runs.

They bounced back immediately at Bengaluru to level the contest with a 75-run victory, but it was becoming evident that the intensity of the contest had crossed normal boundaries as controversy  after controversy erupted around the two teams.

Thereafter, whether it was Ishant Sharma pulling faces at the opposition batsmen, or Australia captain Steven Smith having a “brain fade” in seeking dressing room advice for a TV appeal, or his counterpart Virat Kohli being mocked by Australian fielders for an injured shoulder, few contests between these two teams have been as fractious.

The Australian media gleefully brought into the narrative by painting the India captain in demonic colours, and Kohli did not help matters, his usually-combative self-acquiring greater overtones as the series went along. The third Test in Ranchi was a cliff-hanger as Australia hung on to ensure a draw, but the momentum had decisively shifted away and back to India.

In that sense, the fourth and final Test at Dharamsala capped India’s display as the tourists were swept aside by a thumping eight wickets, though there was one final twist in the tale. Before the series, Kohli had spoken about his many friends in the Australian dressing room. By the end, the narrative had changed to how he would never be friends again with a few on the other side.

The bitterness, unfortunately, overshadowed some intense cricket, and the emergence of four stalwarts in India colours — opener Lokesh Rahul, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja, fast bowler Umesh Yadav and batting mainstay Cheteshwar Pujara. Each of them in his own way stamped his presence on the series and played his part in the final result.

Tags: test match, ishant sharma, virat kohli, lokesh rahul