Australia v India, 2nd Twenty20, Melbourne February 3, 2012

Overdue win, unusual method

India were on tonight. It was like it was all coming back to someone who had lost his memory in the first half of a Bollywood film. Simple things but somehow forgotten
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Finally. After 10 Tests (eight lost, two drawn), four ODIs and two T20Is. India have finally won an international on the road. It is just a Twenty20, but try telling India that. This was a win they desperately needed. You need to actually win to reassure yourself you can win. Losing can be self-perpetuating. And you start to wonder where that elusive win will come from. You start blaming luck, you start blaming pitches, you start hating the crowds, you start detesting the press, but until you finally are the second captain asked to come for the post-match interview, you find yourself in that rut.

The interesting part is - it was a completely un-Indian win. It happened in the field. It was a complete transformation from - forget the Tests - the first T20 in Sydney. It was as if a magic switch had been flicked on. India were on tonight. There were direct hits, there were diving saves, there were people backing throws up, there was the MS Dhoni stumping without any reverse follow-through, there were clever bowling changes, there was an impetus on getting wickets to slow runs down. It was like it was all coming back to someone who had lost his memory in the first half of a Bollywood film. Simple things but somehow forgotten.

Dhoni called this the best fielding side he has played with. He said before the start of the limited-overs leg of the tour that the young fielders will bring a different energy to the team, and the turnaround finally came through the fielding. It was led by Ravindra Jadeja, a man much hated by Indian fans, always the fall guy, until he was dropped in 2010. He missed the 2011 World Cup too. He came back in England, and was one of the shining lights on the tour where India didn't win a single game.

Tonight Jadeja bowled three overs for 16 runs, but his fielding played a bigger part in his ending up as Man of the Match. Yes, it can happen in India too. George Bailey, Australia's captain, wasn't surprised India fielded well. He was actually surprised India didn't field that well in the first T20. Jadeja said they were hampered by the rain a bit in Sydney, but tonight's conditions were perfect.

"Everybody badly wanted to register the first win," Jadeja said. "In the Tests we lost 4-0, so everybody was desperate to start winning. We were all positive today, the energy was good. Everybody did well in his own department. Gautam [Gambhir] too played till the end."

Jadeja said that when he joined the team after the Tests, the dressing room didn't look a gloomy one, as you would expect after a whitewash. He said the seven young players who flew in from India brought in a lot of energy. "Test cricket and one-day cricket are different," he said. "All the boys who came with me were very positive. To make sure we don't repeat what happened in the Tests. We all did well, the wicket was good, and because everybody was able to give 100% we won."

Jadeja said the win will bring a positive change. "The ODIs will be played on the same grounds," he said, "so we know what to expect, what we need to do mentally."

India will know this win means a lot, but will also know it might end up meaning nothing if they can't turn this little win into bigger wins. Looking back at the tour, people will look at tonight's performance either as just a T20 win or a big turning point of what has so far been an abysmal trip. There is a long way to go to make it the latter.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on February 4, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    A win is a win....Sometimes when you let your tight grasp on something , it could just turn around....hope that's the case with india...hope the young squad got the spark they needed to go and give there best.....all the best.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on February 4, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    @Chris Sun, I don't like T20 matches either. But the way you are talking is like silly loser. It was clearly because of India's good performance in bowling and fielding. Ponting & co didn't play because they cannot play T20 and looks like this is best AUS T20 team.

  • HatsforBats on February 4, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    What a suprise. After getting hammered in tests, India beat (by all accounts) an experimental Aus team, and suddenly all is forgiven. Hopefully Indian players take this as a wake up call and really start behaving like the atheletes they should be, rather than spoilt rich kids too posh to sweat.

  • on February 4, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    hope indian fans are not celebrating this measly t20 win after losing everything else that actually was important!

  • Tisse on February 4, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    Great Win ? ---- but to even call this a great and win and be happy about it clearly shows how desperate India is, although the commercial world will be happy and relieved because of the media importance of the Indian public, yet we must face reality, this is only a third string Aussie side, wheras Indian had her strongest side, it is foolish to hail this as a great victory becausen th rest of the world will laugh, it will also drive the palyers to gaon thinkl that they are top class which is honestly far away. Be careful in your praise if you want results then tell the team the truth it is only then that they will improve.

  • zenboomerang on February 4, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    Good to see an Indian win (even though against us) & will definitely spark up the Tri-nations series... Some of the best fielding as a unit I have seen & reminded me of the NZ womens fielding in the last 2 T20's - simply great work...

  • zenboomerang on February 4, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    @Gizza :- "only two players who aren't in Australia's strongest T20 XI in my opinion are S. Marsh and McKay"... I disagree... Shane Watson is still recovering & will probably captain the team in the WC in SL... Mike Hussey was rested for this series... Pat Cummins still recovering & a very good T20 bowler... All are 1st picks - check their stats...

  • SanjuMenon on February 4, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    My Dear F! Has India asked to rest Clarke, Ponting, Hussey, Hilfenhaus and all those who troubled India from T20? No....So a win is a win...just mind it!

  • karthik_krishna1984 on February 4, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    INdia to do not rate T20 very highly they do not have dravid, sachin, laxman,zaheer,ishant,yadhav all their test superstars are missing this was a second grade indian side. INdia does not rate t20 as high as one days and tests ); .

    One thing for sure India will win the ODI series hands down.Thats were australia will see how fortunate they were to play against an aging Indian outfit completely out of form in the test series.

  • J._Doe on February 4, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    "There was no Clarke, Ponting, Mike Hussey, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Lyon, Pattinson and co, all of whom tormented India in tests. Aussies don't value T20 as much as one day or test cricket. That's why the very good test players are not playing T20 hence India managed a rare win" to this commentor I would just say that Aussie selectors played their best T20 side and were beaten by the best T20 team picked by the Indian selectors, period!

  • on February 4, 2012, 18:56 GMT

    A win is a win....Sometimes when you let your tight grasp on something , it could just turn around....hope that's the case with india...hope the young squad got the spark they needed to go and give there best.....all the best.

  • kumarcoolbuddy on February 4, 2012, 15:28 GMT

    @Chris Sun, I don't like T20 matches either. But the way you are talking is like silly loser. It was clearly because of India's good performance in bowling and fielding. Ponting & co didn't play because they cannot play T20 and looks like this is best AUS T20 team.

  • HatsforBats on February 4, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    What a suprise. After getting hammered in tests, India beat (by all accounts) an experimental Aus team, and suddenly all is forgiven. Hopefully Indian players take this as a wake up call and really start behaving like the atheletes they should be, rather than spoilt rich kids too posh to sweat.

  • on February 4, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    hope indian fans are not celebrating this measly t20 win after losing everything else that actually was important!

  • Tisse on February 4, 2012, 5:35 GMT

    Great Win ? ---- but to even call this a great and win and be happy about it clearly shows how desperate India is, although the commercial world will be happy and relieved because of the media importance of the Indian public, yet we must face reality, this is only a third string Aussie side, wheras Indian had her strongest side, it is foolish to hail this as a great victory becausen th rest of the world will laugh, it will also drive the palyers to gaon thinkl that they are top class which is honestly far away. Be careful in your praise if you want results then tell the team the truth it is only then that they will improve.

  • zenboomerang on February 4, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    Good to see an Indian win (even though against us) & will definitely spark up the Tri-nations series... Some of the best fielding as a unit I have seen & reminded me of the NZ womens fielding in the last 2 T20's - simply great work...

  • zenboomerang on February 4, 2012, 4:37 GMT

    @Gizza :- "only two players who aren't in Australia's strongest T20 XI in my opinion are S. Marsh and McKay"... I disagree... Shane Watson is still recovering & will probably captain the team in the WC in SL... Mike Hussey was rested for this series... Pat Cummins still recovering & a very good T20 bowler... All are 1st picks - check their stats...

  • SanjuMenon on February 4, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    My Dear F! Has India asked to rest Clarke, Ponting, Hussey, Hilfenhaus and all those who troubled India from T20? No....So a win is a win...just mind it!

  • karthik_krishna1984 on February 4, 2012, 3:32 GMT

    INdia to do not rate T20 very highly they do not have dravid, sachin, laxman,zaheer,ishant,yadhav all their test superstars are missing this was a second grade indian side. INdia does not rate t20 as high as one days and tests ); .

    One thing for sure India will win the ODI series hands down.Thats were australia will see how fortunate they were to play against an aging Indian outfit completely out of form in the test series.

  • J._Doe on February 4, 2012, 3:16 GMT

    "There was no Clarke, Ponting, Mike Hussey, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Lyon, Pattinson and co, all of whom tormented India in tests. Aussies don't value T20 as much as one day or test cricket. That's why the very good test players are not playing T20 hence India managed a rare win" to this commentor I would just say that Aussie selectors played their best T20 side and were beaten by the best T20 team picked by the Indian selectors, period!

  • Desihungama on February 4, 2012, 3:07 GMT

    I knew this whenever India ekes out a win, it'll be the pathetic Twenty20 game. It is increasingly looking like that's the only format they excel. Just what pitch and conditions are left in the world the 3 Greats have not played at least 100 times? And this is what you got. 1 20/20 victory out of 16 outings?

  • GMathews on February 4, 2012, 2:39 GMT

    this is the Australia's best 20/20 team no doubt about it, Aussie oldies have proven earlier that their not good at 20/20s through the world cup etc.

  • AvidCricFan on February 4, 2012, 2:36 GMT

    BTW, many people calling for Jadeja's head will be very disappointed. He was excellent in this game as he had been in ODI's since the England series. I don't know why people jump for his head when he fails in one test and players like Shewag persist matches after matches.

  • AvidCricFan on February 4, 2012, 2:33 GMT

    Vinay Kumar's bowling is surprising to me. He is bowling now at 132-136 kmph. Where was this during tests? In any case, I regard him as average club-class bowler. Even Irfan Pathan could have given similar performance. I am not sure why he is not considered, when he can at least bat much better than V Kumar. We will have to see the team performance in 50 over format. Shewag is still riddled with stupidity, getting out to full tosses.

  • Harry_Kool on February 4, 2012, 2:19 GMT

    We have been warned! No team inflicts a 17th consecutive away defeat on India, no team!

  • on February 4, 2012, 1:59 GMT

    In Response To Chris Sun's comment

    If you don't care, why play 20-20 then? Sour grapes story..by the way, Aussies have lost their last 5 tests in India starting from 2003-2004...so don't worry, when they come over next time, will get the taste of their own bitter medicine in tests as well...

  • kunderanengineer on February 4, 2012, 1:10 GMT

    Yes it's only a T-20 match against a relatively weak Australian line-up but at least for the first time in this tour the Indian team has tasted victory. It could be something to build on. What a noticeable difference in both fielding and running between the wickets and overall energy from the young guns. When batsmen can turn ones into twos and twos into threes and the fielders can do just the opposite, this is a basic and necessary ingredient for any winning team. However, along with the physical India have to cope with the mental aspect of winning on foreign soil. Just for starters, we can certainly do without players who hurl empty boasts after a loss on foreign pitches by saying "Wait till you come to our backyard, we'll show you!" Only losers talk this way. Winners, like the past great Australian and West Indian teams, try to do well under any conditions. All the best for the ODIs! But don't forget that you are considered great only if you are able to win Tests on foreign soil.

  • on February 4, 2012, 1:01 GMT

    There was no Clarke, Ponting, Mike Hussey, Siddle, Hilfenhaus, Lyon, Pattinson and co, all of whom tormented India in tests. Aussies don't value T20 as much as one day or test cricket. That's why the very good test players are not playing T20 hence India managed a rare win.

  • pr3m on February 4, 2012, 0:40 GMT

    Wonder if things would be different had we started with the ODIs, T20s, and then gone to the Tests. Australia did this in the last two away series they played.

  • Babloo3544 on February 4, 2012, 0:20 GMT

    I do not understand how people get the idea that the current youngsters are there because of IPL, look at their standards, they are only good for the short format, against weak opposition like the Australia team A they just beat. They do not have the technique to succeed in the long run courtesy of IPL. And people are happy with IPL ? Gavaskar, Sachin, Kumble, Gangulay were not products of IPL, they had class, they played county, had enough practice. India is always a country of shortcuts be it sports or education or science or industry. As the entire world goes ahead, India ventures on shortcuts which are useless in the long run. I doubt, except Kohli any other member can be in the team for more than a few months.

  • Gizza on February 4, 2012, 0:04 GMT

    @randikaayya, how was it a third string side? The only two players who aren't in Australia's strongest T20 XI in my opinion are S. Marsh and McKay. The other nine are probably among Australia's best. I hate this nonsense about B sides, C sides and third-string sides. Even India's side in England was mostly full-strength (4 or 5 out of eleven were from their second or "A" side, obviously Sachin, Dravid, Laxman, Praveen Kumar, etc. were not). So was India's side against West Indies.

  • vint on February 3, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    This performance just shows the capabilities of this new indian outfit.... this exact lot should be tried in tests. Raina's going to get only better in handling the short ball and the extra added responsiblity may help him... also shows how selfish dravid and laxman were... they knew they were too old but still continued to hold key spots which hurt the team.

  • bobbo2 on February 3, 2012, 23:04 GMT

    I just hope that India doesn't think everything is ok now that they won an irrelevant T20 game. They have to get thier test set up right.

  • on February 3, 2012, 22:14 GMT

    ppl start blaming ipl if india looses thats not the point .actually without ipl players like virat kohli,jadeja,umesh yadav,aaron,rahul sharma,ashwin,ojha could have never made it in to the indian team

    luk at the team guys !! a team comprising of raina,kohli,jadeja,rohit sharma and manoj tiwary is like a wall to stop the run flow these 5 guys can stop nearly 20-30 runs in between and can make atleast 2 run outs and tht would make a great effort in t20

    with these youngsters emerging i wont see india's downfall any more !! ipl did more gud than bad now dont say dravid ,sachin and laxman were spoiled by ipl the thing is they r out of form and are very assured tht selectors wont drop them

    aussie selectors r wayy better in kicking out non performers luk at cameroon white !! aussie t20 captain now not even in the squad tht sort of braveness is required in our selectors too

    players in form and merit based selection is required in tests for india !!

  • on February 3, 2012, 21:56 GMT

    Coincidence...? The T20 stars playing thier 100% before the IPL auctions?

  • wolf777 on February 3, 2012, 19:50 GMT

    Why Jadeja was not picked for the Test series? He could have been a perfect fit as an allrounder capable of playing a long inning. Same can be said of Irfan Pathan. He as a fast/medium pace bowling allrounder can help keep fast bowlers like Yadav and Aaron fresh to attack. The added benefit is that both of them can be a real threat in helping conditions. Both of them are very good fielders which is a big plus.

  • frodo86 on February 3, 2012, 19:48 GMT

    It would be tough to pick the squad for the first ODI, but this is my choice: Sachin, Sehwag,Gambhir, Kohli, Rohit, Dhoni, Jadeja, Pathan, Ashwin, Zaheer and Umesh. Tough on PK and raina

  • ausfor4 on February 3, 2012, 19:30 GMT

    There is often a debate in sports about if defence wins titles. Fielding is defence, and yes, India's fielding (along with S Marsh's batting) gave India the game. I am an Aussie so will never cheer for India, but glad they showed at last...4 weeks of jetlag I guess.

  • on February 3, 2012, 19:07 GMT

    India need a young team in tests, period. End of discussion...

  • on February 3, 2012, 19:02 GMT

    I still believe that Dhoni is the best captain in all forms of the game. Just he should be given free hand in team selection. He looked a different captain with youngsters around. Also India can play the same 16 in all forms of the game instead of shuffling around. It is good cricket that fans want to see and a look at ICC rankings is of no interest to them. Most of us dont even know how these meaningless rankings are derived. Tests debacle is due to the defensive tactics of the BCCI who planned to maintain statistics to meet ICC rankings requirements which backfired. Anyway, a much needed win for Indians and hopefully more wins in llimited overs versions. Also Indian fans might have broken all records, any part of the world they are plenty so any ground is India's home ground. Isn't it.

  • Ganes.V on February 3, 2012, 18:47 GMT

    after the first win I believe in not talking too much and end up being whitewashed again in the ODI series. Take one match at a time and play and win all the remaining one day matches... All the best

  • randikaayya on February 3, 2012, 18:40 GMT

    Australia have essentially played a third string side to see if India can atleast win a T-20 it seems

  • Amit416 on February 3, 2012, 18:38 GMT

    good win..but still test losses hurts. best of luck for odis

  • Naresh28 on February 3, 2012, 18:33 GMT

    I watched all four tests on TV and was appalled at the mauling India got. Also the commentators mocked Indias fielding all series. At last something to cheer. We need youth in test team to infuse the spirit which was missing. Lets discard the seniors gracefully and start to rebuild.

  • Naresh28 on February 3, 2012, 18:23 GMT

    WELL - Lost faith in supporting Indian team. But here some hope for me to support again. Good feilding by our tesm.

  • on February 3, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    A win is always a win no matter where you get, how you get it or against whom you get. A win will be always a win.

  • linusjee on February 3, 2012, 17:53 GMT

    But has a lesson been learned here? You would think that the selectors would have realized after the debacle in England that they needed to infuse young blood into the team. But when you have octogenarian minded guys at the top of the selection committee, I am doubtful anything is going to change in the Indian Test lineup. I am sure Srikanth and gang are going to stick with VVS, Dravid and the rest of the useless "legends" so there is no point in getting overly optimistic. Perhaps its time to infuse young blood into the selection committee. Well, good luck with that!!!

  • annys on February 3, 2012, 17:44 GMT

    its red alert for the aussies and lankans india is dangerous now :)

  • on February 3, 2012, 17:14 GMT

    At last! some peace of mind for fans. No comments from anyone :-)

  • on February 3, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    This win is vry much due to the agility and awareness the young legs have shown on the field. the fielding has been tremendous keeping the aussies on the back foot during their entire innings.

  • Nampally on February 3, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    A superb team effort led India to an easy win!Their fielding was outstanding resulting in 4 run outs. They put the pressure on the opposition. Praveen & Rahul Sharma bowled well - 2 wickets each, whilst the spinners Jadeja & Ashwin controlled the run rate. he biggest factor however was the intensity & determination of the team which was totally absent in the Test squad. It shows that the younger guys are more adaptable, more intense & have a winning attitude. What a shame the test squad was devoid of these basic qualities in a winning side.The omission of 4 seniors + Yadev made a huge difference because this team looked so different to the Losers from Tests.As jadeja rightly said this win does not mean anything unless it leads to bigger wins in ODI's!. With Sachin replacing either Raina or Rohit and ZAK replacing Vinay,the ODI will be a good mixture of youth, talent & experience. Dhoni should not screw this new found attitude, team chemistry or the selection of XI.Optimism at last!

  • on February 3, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Who said Jadeja is 'a man much hated by Indian fans, a fall guy'... its completely absurd...! he is a highly talented batsman too... Very High Quality All Rounder!

  • on February 3, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    Much ado about nothing Sid. No point comparing T20 and ODI wins with overseas wins in Test Cricket. Once India start registering overseas Test Wins against quality opposition, lets celebrate the turnaround. This series in Australia is a disgrace and un-turnaroundable.

  • NSGD on February 3, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Let me say one thing here to shastri n gavasker n all the commentators and so called fans of team India tht those who were with them in their bad time r the only one who can celebrate this victory and many more tht will (hopefully) come on this tour....

  • on February 3, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    When will Virendra Sehwag announce retirement ! In ODI's it should be Tendulkar & Gambhir as openers followed by Kohli, Raina, Rohit Sharma, Jadeja, Pathan, Dhoni, Zaheer Khan ,Ashwin & Praveen Kumar.... I assure you a 5-0 whitewash of Australia!!!!

  • cricfan111 on February 3, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    India has won at last. A wonder!!!

  • ashishnigam2002 on February 3, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    Thank God finally we won something away.. true it was overdue. I wish India team plays competitive cricket in upcoming tri-series too.

  • on February 3, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    It was a great fielding effort that pulled off a desperately needed win for indian dressing room and fans as well.

  • on February 3, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    thanks team india for this elusive win.. hope the bad days are gone by and you keep up the winning momentum in then ODI's.. Play like world champions..!!

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  • on February 3, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    thanks team india for this elusive win.. hope the bad days are gone by and you keep up the winning momentum in then ODI's.. Play like world champions..!!

  • on February 3, 2012, 15:38 GMT

    It was a great fielding effort that pulled off a desperately needed win for indian dressing room and fans as well.

  • ashishnigam2002 on February 3, 2012, 15:41 GMT

    Thank God finally we won something away.. true it was overdue. I wish India team plays competitive cricket in upcoming tri-series too.

  • cricfan111 on February 3, 2012, 16:19 GMT

    India has won at last. A wonder!!!

  • on February 3, 2012, 16:37 GMT

    When will Virendra Sehwag announce retirement ! In ODI's it should be Tendulkar & Gambhir as openers followed by Kohli, Raina, Rohit Sharma, Jadeja, Pathan, Dhoni, Zaheer Khan ,Ashwin & Praveen Kumar.... I assure you a 5-0 whitewash of Australia!!!!

  • NSGD on February 3, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    Let me say one thing here to shastri n gavasker n all the commentators and so called fans of team India tht those who were with them in their bad time r the only one who can celebrate this victory and many more tht will (hopefully) come on this tour....

  • on February 3, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    Much ado about nothing Sid. No point comparing T20 and ODI wins with overseas wins in Test Cricket. Once India start registering overseas Test Wins against quality opposition, lets celebrate the turnaround. This series in Australia is a disgrace and un-turnaroundable.

  • on February 3, 2012, 16:48 GMT

    Who said Jadeja is 'a man much hated by Indian fans, a fall guy'... its completely absurd...! he is a highly talented batsman too... Very High Quality All Rounder!

  • Nampally on February 3, 2012, 16:49 GMT

    A superb team effort led India to an easy win!Their fielding was outstanding resulting in 4 run outs. They put the pressure on the opposition. Praveen & Rahul Sharma bowled well - 2 wickets each, whilst the spinners Jadeja & Ashwin controlled the run rate. he biggest factor however was the intensity & determination of the team which was totally absent in the Test squad. It shows that the younger guys are more adaptable, more intense & have a winning attitude. What a shame the test squad was devoid of these basic qualities in a winning side.The omission of 4 seniors + Yadev made a huge difference because this team looked so different to the Losers from Tests.As jadeja rightly said this win does not mean anything unless it leads to bigger wins in ODI's!. With Sachin replacing either Raina or Rohit and ZAK replacing Vinay,the ODI will be a good mixture of youth, talent & experience. Dhoni should not screw this new found attitude, team chemistry or the selection of XI.Optimism at last!

  • on February 3, 2012, 17:08 GMT

    This win is vry much due to the agility and awareness the young legs have shown on the field. the fielding has been tremendous keeping the aussies on the back foot during their entire innings.