When the Australian team landed in India about a month ago, they were labelled as the weakest Aussie side to tour the country. Most cricketing experts had written the team off and the Indian spinner Harbhajan Singh even went on say, “I have played against some of the best Australian sides. In my opinion, looking at the composition, this is the weakest Australian side to tour India. I don’t think this team has the wherewithal to cope with a quality Indian side in the Indian conditions. It can again be 4-0 like 2013 season,” in an exclusive interview with PTI. There was so much of criticism for this side that even Steve Smith accepted that his team is the underdog going into this series.
Watch Steve Smith’s ‘brain fade’ dismissal in Dharamshala:
One month, 3 Tests and some brilliant performances later, the same side which Harbhajan Singh called the weakest Australian team, is favourite to win the prestigious Border-Gavaskar Trophy. When BCCI announced the venues for this game, there was no doubt that the visitors were going to have a tough time. Since Pune and Ranchi are known for producing slower tracks and Bangalore has also been a happy hunting ground for team India, Australia’s biggest hope was Dharamshala.
The task in hand for Steve Smith’s men was to survive the first three Tests somehow or make sure they don’t lose all of them and look for a compensation in Dharamshala where conditions are likely to assist faster bowlers. However, as it turned out, India was done and dusted in Pune, made a comeback in Bangalore against a spirited Indian side and saved a near impossible game in Ranchi. Against all odds, the visitors are now going into the final match with a realistic chance of winning the series.
A furious Ishant Sharma got rid of Matt Renshaw:
Coming back to Harbhajan Singh’s comments, after India’s loss in the first Test, he said to prove himself, Steve O’Keefe, he needs to perform on better tracks. The left-arm spinner had picked up 12 wickets in the Pune Test, 6 in each innings. Harbhajan Singh, on the other hand, who is a veteran of 103 Tests has picked up 417 wickets in his international career. But, only twice in his career, he managed to pick up 12 wickets in a Test and both times it was against Australia in the historic series in 2001.
Now either he was trying to say that he hasn’t played on spin-friendly wickets and if he did, he has failed to prove himself as a match-winner. In any case, from whatever we have witnessed so far, one thing is clear that the Australian side is proving all the speculations wrong is likely to give a tough time to Virat Kohli’s team in the final match too.