India Conquers Perth
If you had asked any cricket journalist or commentator about the Perth Test, they would have all marked it down as one for Australia. Everybody acknowledged that India had no chance at the WACA. I was one of them as well and we all were shown up to be a little foolish with our predictions.
Yes, the pitch did have both pace and bounce, although not as much as advertised, but the fact is India bowled better on it than Australia. The two left arm bowlers for India, RP Singh and Irfan Pathan swung the ball consistently, with Pathan making a fantastic comeback to the team with both bat and ball. He got the two Australian openers in both innings and got absolutely vital runs with the bat in the second innings. But, the find of the tour has been Ishant Sharma. His bowling to Ricky Ponting in the first session of the fourth day was incredible. He bowled 7 of the most incisive overs to the best batsman in the world and gave him a complete working over. Sharma nipped the ball into Ponting’s hip, his abdomen, and his pads before finally nailing him with the one that shaped in and then held its line off the pitch. That was the wicket India wanted in the morning session and Sharma delivered. It was a champion’s performance, and to think that the kid is only 19 years old. Unbelievable.
Anil Kumble’s has led his team wonderfully well on this tour, and his captaincy was once again spot on. His bowlers responded well, and he himself chipped in with the vital wicket of Andrew Symonds, whose luck with the umpires seems to have finally deserted him. Just when it looked like Australia might get some momentum going with Michael Clarke and Adam Gilchrist building a mini partnership, Kumble threw the ball to Sehwag who promptly got drift and sharp turn to bowl Gillie around his legs. Dhoni capped off his excellent performance behind the stumps with a stunning stumping of Clarke. Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark threw their bats at everything causing a few flutters, before Pathan came back to restore common sense with the second new ball. It was a terrific team performance from India and to comeback in such a stunning manner after being robbed at the Sydney Test speaks volumes of the spirit that exists in the team.
Australia cannot but think of how India has twice interrupted their record breaking streak of 16 wins right at the finish line. Australia loses and VVS Laxman has top scored for India once again, it is remarkable.
It is a beautiful game, this thing called cricket.