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

  • dummy4fb 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.

  • dummy4fb 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!

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