Most players fielded in an away series
Plagued by Injuries, changes were inevitable for India in this series. Before the start of the Test series, India’s premium bowler, Ishant Sharma was sidelined by a side strain. In the first Test, Mohammed Shami was struck on the elbow and suffered a wrist fracture and was ruled out for six months. Just like a viral disease, the injury kept on spreading as Umesh Yadav also sustained a calf injury to be ruled out of the series. The biggest impact of all came in the third Test at Sydney when Ravindra Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin, Hanuma Vihari and Jasprit Bumrah all joined the list of injury woes. Hence, India fielded 20 players this season which is the most by India in an away series. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane were the only two players to play all the four matches on this tour.
Inexperienced by a long margin
A Test between a playing XI that has a combined tally of over 1000 wickets against an opposition with fewer than 100 or 50 or even 20 wickets is an anomaly. That too, when both the teams have played over 100 matches. Though it sounds weird, that was the case in the fourth Test. Australia had 1046 wickets combined and India had only 13 wickets under their belt, ending up with a difference of 1033 wickets. Even though there have been Tests where there were difference of 1000+ wickets, none had a team with less than 100 wickets against a team which had 1000+ wickets.
T Natarajan’s dream series continues
Success doesn’t come by luck, it only comes from hard work, persistent efforts, sacrifice and most of all, the love towards what we do. The cricketing journey continues to be a delightful one for T Natarajan as he made his debut in all three formats on the same tour. Coming in as a replacement for his fellow state-mate, Varun Chakravarthy at the start of the series, in just a matter of 44 days, he was an all-format bowler. This is the quickest an Indian player became an all-format player and the first one to achieve the feat on the same tour.
Debutants join the party
With a fist full of injuries in the third Test at Sydney, India were forced to make changes and two Tamil Nadu lads made the most of it. Washington Sundar who was there as a net bowler and Natarajan, the replacement for Umesh were handed their caps. Both bowlers bowled their heart out and ended with three wickets each. The combined spell of 6 for 167 by the debutants is the second-best in an innings for India in away Tests, excluding India’s debut Test in 1932.
Second-best partnership for the seventh wicket at The Gabba
Under immense pressure, the debutant Sundar and one-match old Shardul Thakur were the heroes for India in the first innings with the bat. Still trailing by 183 runs at the fall of the sixth wicket, the duo put on a spirited effort to cut short the deficit by 123 runs. The 123-run partnership between Sundar and Thakur was the second-highest for the seventh wicket against Australia at The Gabba. For India, this was the fourth-highest partnership for any wicket at The Gabba. Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman had put on 146 runs in 2003 which remains the highest.
The second youngest Indian to a 50+ score on debut
Facing one of the finest bowling line-ups, it’s not easy for a youngster to be batting, that too under pressure. It is a well known fact that Sundar has the ability to bat and he has opened multiple occasions in first-class cricket. However, the way he started off, it was evident that there were no chills. At the age of 21y and 102d, he became the second-youngest debutant for India to score a 50+ in Tests. Batting at number seven or lower, Stuart Binny on the 2014 tour of England at Trent Bridge was the last to score a 50+ on debut.
Highest score by a number 7 or lower on debut against Australia
In a backyard filled with hostile fast bowlers, scoring runs batting lower down the order is always an uphill task. Sundar took on a full-fledged Australian bowling line-up to make 62 runs on his debut. The 62 he made was the highest by a batsman at number seven or lower against Australia in Australia. For an Indian, in an away Test, Sundar’s score is the fourth-highest by a number seven or lower on debut. Rahul Dravid’s 95 against England at Lord’s in 1996 is the highest.
The second Indian to four wickets and a 50+ on debut
The records keep racking up for Sundar who has had a magnificent Test match. Majorly, his selection ahead of Kuldeep Yadav was on the basis of his all-round capabilities. First up with the ball, Sundar bagged three wickets and then followed it up by a half-century with the bat. In the second innings, he bagged the crucial wicket of David Warner. In his debut match, he registered four wickets and a fifty to his name. By virtue of his all-round efforts, Sundar became the second Indian to bag four or more wickets and score a half-century in their debut Test. Amar Singh in the first Test for India, was the other to achieve this feat.
Fourth-best spell by an Indian at The Gabba
Heading into this match, Mohammed Siraj was the leader of the Indian bowling attack with seven wickets to his name. In the first over of the match, he dismissed Warner yet again and justified his role. In the second innings, when Australia were cruising at a score of 2 for 123, Siraj stepped up to bag two wickets in an over to bring back India into contention. By the end of the innings, he claimed his maiden five wicket haul and became the fifth Indian bowler to do so at The Gabba. His spell of 5 for 73 is the fourth-best by an Indian at this venue in Tests.
Third-highest score by an opener
In any chase of over 200 in the fourth innings, the platform set by the openers spices up the chase. Though, the experienced opener in the form of Rohit Sharma fell early in the day, Shubman Gill’s intent didn’t hamper, especially after lunch. After reaching his fifty in 90 balls, Gill pressed on the accelerator. However, he fell nine runs short of what would have been a sensational century. His 91 runs are the third-highest by an opener in the fourth innings of a Gabba Test.
Quickest to 1000 runs among Indian wicketkeepers
Though Wriddhiman Saha is a better keeper, Pant gets the nod ahead of him because of his batting. Pant has just played 27 innings and he has already raced to 1000 runs. His 114 at The Oval in 2018, 97 at the SCG this series and today’s 89* are some of the best innings he has played. The 27 innings he took to reach the landmark is the quickest among Indian wicketkeepers, bettering his predecessor. MS Dhoni had reached 1000 runs in 32 innings.
Second-slowest fifty against Australia
As it may seem, Gill and Pant might be the heroes of this match, but there was one Knight who held the innings together and that Knight was Cheteshwar Pujara. As he does always, Pujara batted and batted and batted until Aussie pacers had to alter their plans. Pujara slowly complied the runs and reached his half-century off 196 balls. This was his slowest half-century in Tests and the second-slowest against Australia in Tests since 2001.
Highest successful chase at The Gabba
Even though the pitch at The Gabba is true of bounce and the fact that the ball comes on to the bat well, chasing has been a difficult feature. Just two scores of over 200 chased successfully is proof of it. Defying all odds, a young Indian side gunned down the target. The target of 328 is the highest successful chased at The Gabba in Tests. This chase is also India’s third-highest overall and second-highest in an away Test match.
India - The fourth team to consecutive series wins in Australia
It is not an easy task to beat Australia in their fortress, but India have done it in succession. Even with a full-strength side, Australia couldn’t prevent a series loss. India on the other hand have had the wood with two back-to-back series wins. England, West Indies and South Africa are the other three teams to win consecutive series in Australia. England are the only team to achieve this twice, three in succession from 1844-1888 and two in succession from 1928-1933.
18th November 1988, the last time Australia had lost a match at The Gabba. For 32 years and 52 days, Gabba had turned into a fortress for the hosts. For 31 consecutive matches, they were undefeated until India breached it today. The 31 successive matches without a defeat was the second-best run for a team at a venue in Tests. Pakistan at the National Stadium, Karachi were unbeaten for 34 matches before England ended their run in 2000. In addition, India became the first Asian team to win a Test at The Gabba.
Cheteshwar Pujara – Endurance of the high quality
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting” – Joyce Meyer
Though being bruised and battered, Pujara’s endurance to withstand is undeniably the most glorious aspect of his batting. Just like his predecessor – Rahul Dravid – Pujara waits for the right opportunity even after batting balls together. Pujara has batted 2657 balls on Australian soil, which is the third-most for an Indian in Tests. To add to his sensational record, he has batted for 200+ balls in an innings in Australia for six times, the most by an Indian in Tests.
Third-highest runs achieved on Day 5 to win a Test
With 325 runs required at the start of Day 5 against a fearsome bowling attack and an in experienced batting line-up, most of the teams would have gone for a draw. But, this young Indian setup had different plans as they shot it down with three overs to spare. The 325 runs scored by India is the third-highest a team has chased down successfully on the final day of in Tests. Australia’s 404 against England in 1948 in Leeds remains the highest.