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 Sweetest Revenge

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Number of posts : 113
Age : 32
Localisation : Trivandrum, Kerala, India
Registration date : 2006-09-22

PostSubject: Sweetest Revenge   Sun Jan 20, 2008 5:29 pm

Shabaash, ab Adelaide bhi jeetna hai," they thundered inside the huddle, moments after Shaun Tait was cleaned up by R P Singh to record a historic 72-run victory in the third Test on Saturday - Team India had already set their sights on the next one. They had several reasons to.

Because today's win came at WACA, the haunted house of Indian cricket and Australia's impregnable fortress. Because no outside team has won at this ground since 1995-96.

Because no team has defeated Australia at home in the last four years. Because no team has beaten Australia inside four days in the last nine years. Because Australia's 17th-win-a-row dream was reduced to just that, a dream.

Because the reality is that after a bruising Test in Sydney - blighted by Bucknor's wandering eye and the Australian team's permanent sneer - India came back, not clawing, but all cylinders firing, winning the mind game before even the first ball was bowled. To prove that Australia is no longer The Unbeatable.

"I would say I will place it right at the top," said skipper Anil Kumble. "It's not just overseas but when I look back at wherever I was involved, both home and away, it's right up there. Definitely, I think we have competed well with Australia. It's important we take this momentum forward and square the series. We wanted to show that the Indian team is a good Test unit. Even in Sydney, we put in a good effort but didn't get the result that we wanted. What's heartening is that we have shown that in what's regarded as the home turf for Australia."

Ricky Ponting took the defeat with his chin up and with a lot more grace than what was visible in Sydney. "It's disappointing (not to have made world record of 17 wins) but it's been a pretty good run," he said. "It would have been great to win one more, or 10 more, but we haven't been good enough. The run was always going to come to an end at some stage. We just weren't good enough here, it's as simple as it gets. I was reading stuff in newspapers that our invincibility is all over," he said. "I wouldn't have thought so. We'll see. It's up to us to see how we bounce back in Adelaide."

But in the Indian changing room, Adelaide could wait. Until the champagne was popped and the legs had danced to Hindi songs; Rahul Dravid grabbed a quick sip, so did V V S Laxman; RP danced topless and was quickly joined by others. The wives quietly lined up outside the dressing room, allowing their husbands their few minutes of abandon.

Some of India's best-ever overseas victories have always come from contributions from an individual -- remember Adelaide, Multan, Johannesburg, and even the most recent one in Nottingham. This win was about a few knocks of 90s and 70s, a couple of them in their 40s and their 30s. No five-wicket hauls either; just an equal division between the left-hand and right hand seamers, between leg-spin and off-spin, and about a Dhoni who grabbed eight in this match to equal the best by an Indian wicketkeeper. Contributions came from the set of veterans, and from the teenager - in a sentence, this victory has been the most comprehensive team performance from the Indian side.

And to be able to generate that win with two comeback men has only added to the flavour of this achievement. Irfan Pathan was duly declared the man of the match for swinging the game, literally, towards India. But equally significant was Virender Sehwag's contribution - blazing a 43 to snatch the initiative yesterday, and then again with that vital wicket of Adam Gilchrist first ball with his off-spin and adding another of Brett Lee.

This Test match has been about comebacks, about two comeback men and one team. A few hours later, after the Test match ended, this WACA ground had already come to terms with its new historical value. Tour guides took around a bunch of all enthusiastic Indians to the pitch to show them the 22 yards that have taken this Indian team a tremendous distance.

Just a few metres away was little Laxman Jr, playing his own game in the outfield. He may or may not chose to play cricket, but if he ever visits this ground again, he can see the scoresheet where his father helped script a dream victory, where a bat signed by him and all Team India players has been kept in the WACA museum. For, history was made today - and how.
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