Talking over from Virat Kohli after the Adelaide Debacle, Ajinkya Rahane would have hardly had the thought of him holding the Border-Gavaskar Trophy at the end of the series, but such has been the gut and gumption shown by the battered and bruised India side that they not only punched above their weight but landed the knockout punch at the Gabba defeating Australia by three wickets to break the hosts’ unbeaten streak at the venue that ran for over 20 years.
And the win is all the sweeter considering it was one of the weakest, in terms of experience, that gave India one of it’s most historic moments. “It means a lot to us. I don’t know how to describe this, but our boys showed a lot of character and determination after the Adelaide Test," said Rahane during the post-match presentation.
Telling contributions from senior players Ajinkya Rahane, Cheteshwar Pujara, and Ravichandran Ashwin notwithstanding, it was youngsters who stole the show led by Mohammad Siraj, Rishabh Pant, Washington Sundar and Shubman Gill, and Rahane could not be any prouder with his young bunch. “I’m really proud of each individual," he said adding, " Siraj played two Tests, Saini just one, so it was inexperienced but the character is shown by the bowlers and everyone else was incredible. We didn’t discuss anything about Adelaide. Just played wanted to play the remaining games with a good attitude and character without worrying about the result.
As India started the day with the hope of a very unlikely win, questions were raised over Pujara stonewalling the Australia attack and the lack of intent to score, denying India the chance to go for the win, even as Gill was going strong. But, Rahane made it clear Pujara’s batting was all about intent.
“The conversation between Pujara and me was that he would bat normal, and I would take it on. It was all about intent. Credit to Pujara, the way he handled the pressure was magnificent. Rishabh Pant and Washington Sundar were very good at the end."
Rahane went on to add that having five bowlers was the key headling into Brisbane and Washington Sundaar provided the balance. India had lost allrounder Ravindra Jadeja to a thumb fracture and Ravichandran Ashwin to back spasm, but Sundar stepped in, and even outbowled the more experienced Nathan Lyon throughout the match and played a crucial knock with the bat in the first innings, which kept India alive in the game.
“Taking 20 wickets was the key, so we opted for 5 bowlers. Sundar brought the balance in place of Jadeja. The intention was clear to play five bowlers," he added.