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  • Writer's pictureNihar Bharwada

Fortress Gabba Breached

15 January 2021. The stage was set for the climax of the India vs Australia Test series, the series was leveled at 1 - 1 after India pulled off a great escape and drew the Sydney test. What was touted to be the clash of the titans turned out to become a battle between David and Goliath. While the Aussies were full strength and were looking for redemption after losing the previous series to India, India was the depleted- side losing all their key bowlers to injuries and a captain on a paternity break. The venue, Gabba in Brisbane, an Aussie Fortress where they had not lost since the last 32 years.

What unfolded over the next 5 days was exhilarating as India’s rookie bowlers ( 3 of them were in Australia as net bowlers ) with a total experience of 4 matches and 11 test wickets between them bettered their Aussie counterparts, having a combined experience of 146 matches and 1108 test wickets between them. It was about how when all seemed lost that Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur put on a 120 run partnership which turned out to be agonizing for the Aussies. Chasing 329 in the fourth innings, 3 tests old Shubhman Gill top-scored with 91, the seasoned Cheteshwar Pujara braved body blows, and then the final flourish- a fearless and determined Rishabh Pant bashed up the hapless Aussies all around their fortress. India had breached the fortress Gabba and won the series 2 - 1.

This was not just about seeking a victory, it was about how adversity built strength for team India. It was a manifestation of years of planning at the grass-root level, about a player of the stature of Rahul Dravid grooming promising youngsters from India A and Under- 19 to make them battle-ready and not to forget, the international exposure that the IPL gives to youngsters. The IPL which was forecasted to be the grave of test cricket was helping create test players for the new decade.

Can this Indian team replicate the class and aura of the Windies of the 1970s or the Aussies of the 1990s - 2000s? Only time will tell. But the journey has definitely started - by breaching fortress Gabba!

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