India only needed a Draw in the 4th Test match in Brisbane to retain the Border Gavaskar Trophy. But typical of the New Generation India, a young and inexperienced Indian team did the unthinkable and scored the required 324 runs on the final day of the tour to breach Fortress Gabba - where Australia had not lost a Test since 1988 - and clinched the series 2-1.
Prior to India's stunning last day effort, the highest successful run-chase in Tests at the Gabba was 236. India obliterated that record and got 324 on the final day to set a new record run-chase at the Gabba and in the process registered a famous win.
The win would be India's third consecutive series win against Australia. India clinched the Border Gavaskar Trophy after winning the series at home in 2016-17, followed that up with a maiden series win in Australia in 2018-19, and then retained the trophy with a win on this tour.
Courtesy of the win in Brisbane, India have now joined an elite list of nations who have won consecutive Test series in Australia.
A total of 34 players were used by both teams in the 4-match Test series; Australia fielded 14 different players in the series, while India used up 20 different players in the Test series. This is the third time that 34 different players have participated in a Test series between Australia and India played Down Under.
The last time India used 20 or more players in a Test series was in the series in West Indies in 1970-71. In that series, which is famously remembered for Sunil Gavaskar's prolific debut, India used 20 different players.
While India used 10 different specialist bowlers during the series, Australia's bowling attack remained the same through out the series. Australia stuck with Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, Cameron Green and Nathan Lyon for the entire Test series.
The 4-match Test series kicked off with a Day and Night Test match in Adelaide; it would be India's maiden day and night Test overseas. Australia won the series opener and maintained their 100% win record in Day and Night Tests.
In the series opener in Adelaide, after taking a 53-run first innings lead, India were shot out for 36 in the second innings which would be:
- India's lowest total in Test cricket
- the lowest total in all Day and Night Tests
- the lowest total in all Tests at the Adelaide Oval
After the embarrassment of being dismissed for their lowest total in Test cricket, India fought back brilliantly to win the 2nd in Melbourne. The fightback was led by stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane, who scored a magnificent 112 - batting for over six hours. It would be Rahane's maiden hundred as India's Test captain. He also became only the second Indian captain to score a Test hundred at Melbourne.
Incidentally, Tendulkar (in 1999-2000) and Rahane are the only Indian captains to win Man of the Match awards in Tests in Melbourne.
In the 3rd Test in Sydney, Steve Smith ended his century drought in Test cricket when he scored 131 in Australia's first innings. Prior to that knock, Smith had gone 14 innings without a three-figure score - his longest such stretch since scoring his maiden Test hundred.
In the Sydney Test, Steve Smith brought up his half-century off 116 balls and 134 balls - which would be his two slowest half-centuries in Tests against India. His previous slowest half-century against India was off 111 balls
Cheteshwar Pujara scored three half-centuries in the series; his 196-ball half-century in the final innings in Brisbane would be his slowest half-century in his Test career – but every ball he faced and blunted the Australian attack was priceless.
Cheteshwar Pujara once again stonewalled the Australians; he faced 928 deliveries - the most faced by any batsman from either team in the series.
Mohammed Siraj, who made his debut in the second Test in Melbourne, would finish the series as India's leading wicket-taker. Only two other Indian quick bowlers have taken more wickets in a debut Test series.
In the fourth innings of the Brisbane Test, Rishabh Pant - during the course of registering his slowest half-century in Test cricket - broke MS Dhoni's record by becoming the fastest Indian wicketkeeper to score 1000 Test runs.
With his series tally of 274 runs, Rishabh Pant would finish the Test series as India's highest run-getter; he also now has the most Test runs in Australia among Indian wicketkeepers.
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