It is natural to draw comparisons in the immediate flush of delight and enthusiasm, and so it’s hardly surprising that some are hailing the Australian Indian Test series as the greatest ever. ‘Natural’, as I say, but it’s also, pointless – how do you begin to measure it against the 2005 Ashes or the Australia-West Indies series which began with a tied Test in Brisbane almost sixty years ago? Nevertheless, if the series was not the greatest, it must be judged as one of the most remarkable.
Consider: India lost the first Test, being bowled out for a miserable score of 36 in their second innings. They had arrived in Australia without some of their best bowlers and in the match, would lose another, Mohammed Abbas, to injury. Then, their captain and finest batsman, Virat Kohli, left the tour to return home for his first child’s birth. In spite of this, India won the second Test, thanks to a fine century by their stand-in captain Ajinkja Rahane, and remarkably drew the third. Two injured batsmen defied the Australian attack in the last leg, even though one of them was unable to hobble a single. “Can’t wait to get you at the Gabba,” sniped Australia’s captain and wicketkeeper Tim Paine. The Gabba is the feared Brisbane ground where Australia haven’t lost a Test match since 1988.