The Virat Kohli-led team became the first Indian side to win a Test series in Australia on Monday (January 7) when the final Test of the four-match series at Sydney ended in a draw.
India were already leading the series 2-1 and the draw – while disappointing given the position of dominance the visitors found themselves in – was enough to ensure they wrote their names into the history books.
India put themselves into a position of dominance thanks to their mammoth first innings score of 622/7. A lot of that was down to the centuries scored by Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant, but the former deserves more credit for forging multiple partnerships in the innings.
Pujara shared a 116-run stand with opener Mayank Agarwal that was much needed at the time since KL Rahul had departed with just 10 runs on the board.
The two showed plenty of resolve to blunt the Australian attack and the partnership was just the launchpad India needed to go on and make a big first innings total.
But India’s number three wasn’t quite done yet as he also shared a valuable partnership with Pant when the young wicketkeeper came in to bat.
Pant’s naturally aggressive style would eventually see him score his maiden century in Australia (and second of his Test career) but the time spent at the crease with Pujara definitely helped him.
Pant would remain unbeaten at 159 as Kohli declared the innings, ensuring the hosts would have a massive mountain to climb if they were to stand any chance of even drawing the match.
Australia started their innings well but a mixture of good tactics from India and a tendency to throw away starts by the batsmen cost them dearly.
The bowler who caused most trouble to the home team was Kuldeep Yadav. The Chinaman, who was playing his first Test in Australia, ended the innings with figures of 5/99.
Perhaps the moment where he was at his finest was when he dismissed Tim Paine. The Australian skipper came in to bat with his team in trouble and showed some solidity to get the team through to tea.
However, Kuldeep managed to flummox him in the beginning of the third session with a well-flighted ball that landed just outside off-stump.
Paine failed to read the spin and went for a half-hearted drive that proved to be his undoing as the ball spun back in and rattled his stumps.
The Australian batsmen in general struggled to pick Kuldeep’s variations but it wasn’t just Kuldeep who caused issues; the fielding was also right on the money.
This was best demonstrated by Ajinkya Rahane, who took a smart low catch to get rid of Marnus Labuschagne off Mohammed Shami’s bowling.
Labuschagne clipped Shami off his pads but Rahane’s instinctive catch low to his right meant that the Australia number three was walking back to the pavilion.
Rain played spoilsport over the last two days; Day 4 saw only 25.1 overs bowled while Day 5 was called off entirely due to incessant showers.
But not even the poor light at the Sydney Cricket Ground towards the end of the match could dim India’s bright showing in the Test and the series in general.