A “shocked” Ricky Ponting is finding it hard to believe how India’s “A team” came back to heart Australia in the recently-concluded Test series in their own backyard despite losing the opening match comprehensively.
Down with a series of injuries, India competed without many a key players, including the captain and frontline bowling attack. Yet, the Ajinkya Rahane-led side overwhelmed Australia by three wickets in the final and fourth Test at the Gabba, where the hosts had not lost a match in the last 32 years.
“I’m quite shocked that Australia weren’t quite good enough to win this series. The cold hard facts of it are pretty much that was the India A team that played this Test match and still won,” Ponting told cricket.com.au.
“Considering everything the Indian team has been through in the last five or six weeks, with the captain leaving, all the injuries they’ve had, they’ve been through 20 players, (Australia) have been at full-strength, bar Davey (Warner) missing early on, so it’s really hard to comprehend.
“It’s probably not even (India’s) second-picked team because you think of Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Ishant Sharma and those guys who didn’t even make it out here. Rohit Sharma turns up for the last two Test matches only.”
Ponting said India won all the key moments throughout the series and that was the difference between the two sides.
“They’ve played really good, tough, hard Test match cricket day-in and day-out. India have won all the big moments in every Test match and Australia have fallen short. That’s been the difference between the two teams.”
“They (India) have done it really well and they thoroughly deserve to win the series … because (of) how resilient they’ve been.”
India on Tuesday became the first team to conquer The Gabba in 33 years as they beat Australia by three wickets in the final Test and won the four-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy series 2-1.
Chasing 328, India achieved the target with three overs remaining on Day 5. Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant shone with the bat for visitors on the weary Brisbane wicket against the star-studded Australian bowling attack.
If Pant ensured India’s completion of the chase by remaining unbeaten on 89, opener Gill’s innings of 91 was the kickstart India needed.
Pujara with his marathon 211-ball knock of 56 runs was the steadying force that held India’s fort from end, eventually guiding the tourists towards history.