To say that Cricket is big in India would be an understatement. Cricket is not big in India, it is huge. It is ginormous. It is a colossal giant of gargantuan proportions. It is the single greatest influencer of the collective Indian psyche. No other force is more unifying, nor any more naturally occurring, to the vast and varied identities of our nation. Naturally, when we win, the celebrations are large; and when we lose, the disappointment proportionally immense.But right now, the mood is of celebration. The bright and beaming faces of Indian Test squad are proof that good tidings are round the corner. The long spell of win-less series overseas is finally coming to a close. Virat Kohli and his brand of brutish, ruthless cricket is finally paying off and this band of young and talented cricketers seem more eager than ever to be a part of this new dawn of Indian Test Cricket.
Here are some of the highlights of the series – the unforgettable takeaways!
All the photos here are taken from the BCCI’s official website –
1. Ishant Sharma’s Form Confidence:
The lanky pacer had always enjoyed Dhoni’s confidence. And although he struggled for a extended period (with his line and length) under the legend, the new Captain Kohli also seems to have in
Ishant the same confidence. The reason is simple. When the six-footer gets it right, he’s a nightmare to face.Ishant first showed his potential against the maestro Ricky Ponting in Sydney back in 2011. Since then he had only flashed his aggression at Lord’s last year. But in this series Ishant was Death to the Lankan batsmen with the shiny new ball.The series also saw him crossing the tally of 200 Test wickets! Ishant rips a fiery one during the final Test.
Watch his crucial fifer here:
2. Pujara’s Rise To Glory.
Cheteshwar Pujara is probably the most under-rated player in Indian Team. Just ahead of Ajinkya Rahane. Solid in defence, magnificent in technique and superb in stroke making, Pujara is a treat to the eyes. He got the chance to play the final test only because Vijay was unfit. And what a way to make best of the opportunity. On a green grassy pitch, where the ball was swinging, he was a picture of calm and composure. He scored an unbeaten 145, becoming only the fourth Indian batsman to carry his bat through the innings (after having opened). That his score was half of India’s total of 312 speaks loads of its importance. In that innings, he was literally worth 10 others!!!
Pujara celebrates his match winning 145 not out. (289 balls; 4×14; 6×0; SR 50.17)
Watch the highlights of his masterclass here:
3. AJinkya Rahane’s World Record Of Catches:
You know how in a deck of playing cards you have a Joker card? Technically it is worthless, it doesn’t fit in any of the suits. But that’s as far from the truth as you can get, because that’s the one card that can fit anywhere. It can take the place of any other card. Ajinkya Rahane is one such player. He can play anywhere, in any situation, on any pitch, under any circumstances. All the team needs to do is ask, and he’ll open for you in Tests or play at number 6 in ODIs.
And yet, his real, most crucial contribution is his fielding. ‘Exceptional catches and unbelievable run-outs’ can be the title of his biography. This time he went a step further and made the world record of taking the highest number of catches in a single Test: 8 Rahane gets a hug from his skipper.
Watch all 8 of his catches here:
4. Ashwin’s Web Of Spin:
India is traditionally a batting country, meaning that we have a history of producing stalwarts with the bat. Our heroes are therefore all batmen, and consequently batting gets glamourised. But in all the glitz of batting superpowers, our bowling is left behind to fend for itself. And yet we have produced great spinners like Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh. Ashwin is all set to join their elite ranks. And given the pace with which he is progressing, it won’t come as surprise if he shatters quite a few bowling milestones along the way.
His 22 wickets haul in 3 Tests against Sri Lanka (on Lankan soil) are proof of his prodigious bowling skills. His effort earned him Man of the Series for the fourth time. Only two players – both legends (Sachin and Sehwag) – have earned more MoS awards. And guess how many more? Just 1!!
That’s right, the have both won it only 5 times in their long, prosperous careers . Karunaratne has no clue about this wrong’un from Ashwin.
Watch Ashwin trap the Lankans in his web of spin:
5. The Mighty Wagging Tail!!
All the greatest Test matches are often decided in a single session – that one small section of play where 40 runs by a number 10 player turn out to be more decisive than 200 by the opener. And all the greatest teams have had lower order players who were quite handy with the bat. India never had that advantage. Our last 4 wickets seem mere formality, hardly adding 15-20 runs to the score. This series saw that trend changing. Solid contributions from Amit Mishra and Ravi Ashwin were prominent among a lower order that performed consistently, adding valuable contributions to the final tally. More importantly, doing well with the bat gives a much needed confidence to the bowler and it definitely reflects in his body language when he comes out to bat. No wonder in this series the bowlers were wonderful with their length and line, because they were batting well!!
Mishra plays a cheeky scoop on way to a well compiled half century.
Watch Team India pose with their trophy: