Taste of their own medicine
A decade back, 1999/00, Indian team led by Sachin toured Australia only to get thrashed. A 3 – 0 win for Australia in the 3 test series. Whitewash. There is nothing to hide. Indian batsmen were rattled by the pace and Indian bowlers and fielders were sent on the leather hunt. Indians were not able to match Australia’s all around attack. The only brave man who has shown the fight was Sachin as is the case of 90s. He was named as the Man-of the-series which would have made him to be embarrassed than happy. Sachin was at loss of words for the heavy defeats and as an Indian cricket fan I am really sad.
Turning the clock to 2010/11, shows the unexpected. An Australian team led by Ricky Ponting tours to India to get defeated. A 2-0 win for India in a two match series. whitewash. Even though they performed much, much better than what the Indian team done in 1999/00, a defeat is a defeat. Australians matched the superior Indians but yet succumbed to pressure at big moments. Now its the turn of Ricky Ponting to convince his countrymen and reporters that its not that bad as the result suggests and the team has to move on. Quite Strange.
Australians at their best had this habit of killing their opponents. They won’t let their opponents to breath. There won’t be any easy runs or wickets. Even the dead rubbers made into death beds by them. Such is their positive attitude which was carried by everybody in the team. They will find somebody or other to the rescue. And those somebody were nobody but the greats of cricket like Gilchrist, McGrath, Warne, Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Hayden. The stature of these people were so big that even the successful cricketers like Mcgill, Brett Lee, Gillespie, Martyn and Langer were out of public memory now. These guys scored runs at a pace as there is no tomorrow and took wickets in heap as there is no overs left. With the retirement of these great and good cricketers the aura of invincibility slowly lifted from the Australian team and the other teams believed that they can win if they play well.
The fighting spirit of Australians is still intact. But that is not good enough to win every match as they have done earlier.
Ponting was only one left out of the golden generation that ruled the game. This is an unfamiliar territory for him. Starting a series not as favorites and ending up losing every possible match played. Now I see him as the Sachin of ’99 tour. Like Sachin, he fought a lone battle only for the lost cause. He silenced his critics who said that he is good enough to handle turning deliveries in Indian conditions he played a gem of an innings in the second test. But the gems are remembered only in winning cause.
With the loss of invincibility, Australians lost that mental edge over their opponents. Nobody can imagine somebody who debuts or just a few tests playing a defining innings in a test match against Australia. Even before a batsmen comes to the crease message from Australians will be loud and clear that its hell out here in field. But the relatively newcomers M Vijay and Pujara backed themselves to play confidently on a 5th day pitch. Surely that is the last nail hit on the Australia’s greatness coffin.
Indians were never been aggressive enough to win a test series with a whitewash. If they think that a test series is secure they tend to play for a draw. But now the dynamics of this team is changed and they are trying to win every possible match they can. A true Australian spirit. Now Indians have given Australians the taste of their own medicine and only Ponting will know how bitter it is.
PS: I was quite emotional on the day India won the second test as I never thought India will dominate the world cricket as they do now and finish off their opponents in a clinical fashion in my lifetime. Wishing their journey to continue and hoping they will conquer the South Africans at their home.
Images: Cricinfo.com, Cricbuzz.com, Sulekha.com.