Australia had not been beaten at the Gabba since falling to Viv Richards‘ all-conquering West Indies side by nine wickets in November 1988. India’s 329/7 also smashed a 69-year-old record for the highest run-chase at the ground. Australia held the previous record, scoring 236/7 to beat the West Indies in 1951.
The 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar series win was a stunning turnaround after India were bowled out for their lowest Test innings total of 36 to lose the first Test in Adelaide. But the team under Ajinkya Rahane‘s captaincy bounced back hard to win the second Test in Melbourne. The injury-ravaged Indians then bravely batted through the final day to draw the third Test in Sydney against all expectations.
The win at the Gabba was the big cherry on the cake as a full strength Australian team was humbled in their own backyard.
TimesofIndia.com ran a poll asking five questions on the remarkable achievement of the squad led by Ajinkya Rahane.
The poll received over 23,000 votes.
The first question was: In Indian cricket history overall how would you rate this win (in Brisbane)? The options given here were: The greatest ever; The greatest since the 1983 World Cup victory and The best Test win for India abroad ever.
The clear winner here was the third option. 12846 votes were polled terming this as the best Test win for India abroad ever. 6242 votes went to the first option, with these respondents feeling that this is India’s greatest ever win and 4334 votes were in favour of the second option, terming this as the greatest win since the 1983 world cup victory.
The second question was: The player of the match at the Gabba according to you was…. The options here were Rishabh Pant, Mohammad Siraj, Washington Sundar, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara, Shardul Thakur.
Not surprisingly 11682 votes were polled in favour of the man of the match of the Gabba Test, Rishabh Pant, who led India to victory with an unbeaten 89-run knock and fittingly hit the winning runs. 3482 votes were polled in favour of Shardul Thakur, who took 7 wickets in the match and top scored for India with a 67-run knock in the first innings. 2386 votes were polled in favour of Cheteshwar Pujara (25 & 56 in the two innings in Brisbane), 2171 responses were in favour of the young Shubman Gill (7 & 91), 1923 votes were polled in favour of Mohammed Siraj, who registered his maiden five-wicket haul in his 3rd Test, and 1795 votes were in favour of debutant Washington Sundar, who impressed one and all with his all-round abilities, by taking three wickets in the Australian first innings, before scoring a priceless 62 in India’s first innings as part of a very important stand with Shardul and then took a wicket and scored 22 runs in the second essay.
The third question was: The biggest find of the Test series for India was…The options here were Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, T Natarajan and Navdeep Saini.
The extremely talented Gill was the clear winner here with 13118 votes. Playing only his third Test, Shubman scored a fine 91 to keep India in the hunt in pursuit of a tough 328-run target. Gill made his Test debut in the second Test of the series in Melbourne and made 45 and 35* in the Indian victory at the MCG. He then notched up his maiden Test fifty in the first innings of the drawn game in Sydney and hit a sublime 31 in the second essay.
6423 votes in this part of the poll were polled in favour of Siraj, who made his debut in the second Test and was leading the Indian pace attack in the fourth Test. Sundar, Natarajan and Saini received 3178, 678 and 37 votes respectively.
Ajinkya Rahane led India brilliantly in the absence of Virat Kohli and the next question was on his captaincy. The question read: By winning two and drawing one Test after losing one very badly and without so many experienced players do you think Rahane has proved that:
Option 1: He is the best man to captain India in Tests going forward
Option 2: He is good, but not better than Virat Kohli as a captain
Interestingly this was a no contest. As many as 18024 votes were in favour of option 1, with fans saying Rahane is the best man to captain India in Tests going forward.
5409 votes were in favour of option 2, that Rahane is good, but not better than Virat Kohli as a captain.
The fifth and the last question was: Which player should definitely be a first choice pick in Indian Test teams now? The options given here were: Rishabh Pant as a pure batsman, Shubman Gill, Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur.
While 5534 votes were polled in favour of Rishabh Pant being picked as a pure batsman, the winner in this category was once again Shubman Gill, with 13449 votes being polled in favour of him being looked at as a first choice pick in Test cricket going forward. Gill in fact has been named in India’s 18 man squad for the first two Tests for the 4 Test series vs England, which starts in Chennai on February 5.
Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur received 2333, 1391 and 711 votes respectively.
Overall, this was an incredible series victory having a bigger impact than India’s last Test series win Down Under. India showed tremendous resilience even though they were plagued by multiple injuries and had a severely depleted side. It was also a series that showed just how strong India’s bench strength is and that the future of Indian cricket is in safe hands.