India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 5th day

India exert a rare dominance

By taking a 3-0 lead against Australia in Mohali, India have produced a sequence of sustained dominance that is rare in their Test history

Sharda Ugra

March 18, 2013

Comments: 55 | Text size: A | A

MS Dhoni completes a bat-pad catch off David Warner, India v Australia, 3rd Test, Mohali, 2nd day, March 15, 2013
This Border-Gavaskar Trophy has turned out to be as unequal a contest as it was in Australia in 2011-12 © BCCI
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In their 81-year-old Test history, India had won three consecutive Tests in a series only twice before. The first time was against Graham Gooch's England in 1992-93 and the second against Arjuna Ranatunga's Sri Lanka in 1993-94.

Apart from those contests, India had never won three Tests in a home series of any length. Not even during their 17 wins in 30 home Tests during the rampaging 1990s. India's only other clutch of three Test victories came, along with a chuckle from the gods, overseas. In 1968-69, India achieved their first away series win with a 3-1 result New Zealand.

In Mohali, India's unassailable 3-0 lead against Australia was a fist pump at history. Such a score line had been achieved after a two-decade gap and beating Australia by six wickets had returned the Border-Gavaskar Trophy to India.

India's pursuit of the target of 133 had a bit of a late flutter following Virat Kohli's departure with 30 left to get. It took two boundaries from Ravindra Jadeja in the 33rd over to ease India and Dhoni's growing anxiety. Butterflies had begun fluttering during a passage of about six overs after Kohli was out, when all four results became an imagined - even if remote - possibility.

This Border-Gavaskar Trophy has turned out to be as unequal a contest as it was in Australia in 2011-12. India had battled in the first Test in Melbourne, and Australia's mongrel barked and bit as they tried to defend 133 in Mohali. A 3-0 result, however, is the differentiator in quality between the teams in conditions that have asked mind-altering questions of these new-age Australians. And India have discovered with much satisfaction that this Australia are nowhere close to their old-age compatriots.

The India in Mohali are new-age themselves, but have so far swept away all doubts of their superiority at home over teams of a particular standard. Australia are ranked No. 3 in the ICC Test rankings, one spot ahead of India. Considering how they have played in this series, a round of polite coughing wouldn't be uncalled for. Even between their two embarrassing 0-4 defeats in England and Australia, India beat New Zealand, West Indies and now Australia.

Following this performance, there's a good chance the 1-2 defeat against England will be swept away in the wash of euphoria because India's formula at home has been nailed. The Duncan Fletcher move of including Ravindra Jadeja in the XI and having Dhoni bat at No. 6 has given the captain an additional option with the ball, even if a wee bit more sweat with the bat.

This has enabled India to come back in every game that they bowled first, even after conceding 400-plus in the first innings. The efficiency of India's turnaround against Australia has been impressive. That it came from the newbies - Shikhar Dhawan, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ravindra Jadeja, and the born-again M Vijay - gives the selectors the opportunity to walk around whistling.

In the chase on the fifth day, India were trotting at more than 3.50 runs an over before Kohli was dismissed. That was when Peter Siddle and Mitchell Starc began to put the squeeze on new man Dhoni. Eventually Jadeja's free-style hitting set his side free, the match eventually won with 15 balls to spare.

That margin is a bit supermodel-sized: looks good at a distance, but up close it can appear a little scrawny. It was a result of both the pressure exerted by the Australians after the Kohli dismissal, as well as India's generosity with time and runs, allowing the last three Australian wickets to put up 97.

Somewhere along their press against the Australian batsmen, one of India's successful bowling formulas, particularly at home, turned into a commandment. Thou shalt give only the new ball to Bhuvneshwar Kumar.

It was Bhuvneshwar who had broken through the top of the Australian batting but following his eight-over burst on Sunday evening, the next time he bowled was after 66 overs, when Australia had scored 129 more runs. The ninth and tenth wicket had put on 55 and Bhuvneshwar appeared, because of course the second new ball had to be taken.

India's spinners had done well to reduce Australia to 143 for 8, a lead of 52, yet somehow even with five bowlers, kept their options down to only four for a better chunk of the day. Yes, it is hard to spread the overs around five bowlers but to not give the fifth a go?

Dhoni's careful explanation for not bringing Bhuvneshwar on had to do with his lack of pace and the need to keep him fresh. "Well Bhuvneshwar is not someone who is too quick but can move the ball, so it's important that we use him with he new ball more, when the ball is skidding on a bit there's slightly less time for batsman to adjust," Dhoni said. "And if that's not the case I try to keep him fresh. Mostly we bowl 125 overs and which means second new ball is also due.

"As I said, first day there was not much pace for the fast bowlers and there was not much movement also. Generally Bhuvneshwar is someone who swings it, doesn't matter what the condition is he gets the swing, but that was not the case." Dhoni emphasised that Bhuvneshwar be used, "more with the new ball, especially in the subcontinental conditions."

It is a handsome theory but on the field, as India struggled to get a lower-order wicket with their spinners, it was as if a limited-overs formula - X for the new ball, Y for the middle overs to contain and Z for the slog overs, and if it doesn't break, no need to fix it - had been put into place in Test cricket. Yet, against a wavering opposition in the comfort of home, India will always have plenty of leeway. And if the result ends up 3-0 anyway, everything else becomes nit picking.

Sharda Ugra is senior editor at ESPNcricinfo

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by Samdanh on (March 20, 2013, 6:12 GMT)

Aus lacked the batting quality and tenacity and bowling quality of the England team. That is the difference. While Australia should learn from how Indian batsmen batted and how Indian bowlers bowled in this series so far, Aus captain and board have subtly taught lessons to India team and board, on how to deal with defeat gracefully and correctly, despite being at the receving end of 3 horrendous umpiring decisions (which DRS would have helped avoid) in the second innings of the just concluded 3rd Test. Aus could have drawn the Test had the umpires been right at least in two of those decisions. Despite all this, none from Aus team or board referred to those 3 poor decisions. That is the difference.

Posted by zarasochozarasamjho on (March 19, 2013, 18:54 GMT)

As a Pakistan supporter, I was very impressed with the quality of bowling of Bhavneshwar Kumar when he played against Pakistan in limited overs matches a few months ago; and was very successful. While Pakistan batting has been very brittle, one could still see that the quality of pace bowling was of a very high standard. Kumar wasn't fast but he moved the ball consistently and made the batsmen play nearly each time.

India needs to get rid of old and non-performing players. The new pace and spin bowlers and 3 new batsmen seem to be of a high (test-standard) quality, who now must perform consistently in places like South Africa, Australia, and West Indies.

Posted by indianpunter on (March 19, 2013, 14:37 GMT)

Not surprised that no one is talking about the "elephant in the room" amidst all this euphoria. SRT is finished. He no longer has the will or the mental strength to concentrate for long periods. Consider this; 1. He is the only 1 in the top 6 who hasnt scored a hundred this series. 2. Only 1 international hundred in the past 2 yrs, and that too against Bangladesh. 3. He is probably still good for the occassional 50, but is that what we need from him. I hope the selectors give him a nudge, otherwise, he will make a fool of himself in SA. Please go, ten!.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2013, 13:49 GMT)

Yes it was also funny not to see Dhoni put full pressure when he invited Tendulkar to bowl, pretty late though, by keeping more close in fielders and an edge of the second ball went past silly mid-on, which was a bit too straight and a bit too far.Most of the catches in this position are taken just in front of the batsman, like that of Shikhar by Cowan,who was a bit squarer too.Anyway the new fielders need to be trained in the art of close in fileding, like Mathew Hayden was seen coaching Kohli. We at least dropped 5-6 catches in the second innings.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2013, 12:36 GMT)

India may have won 3-0, but it is better to nitpick now rather than doing it when we are 1-2 or 0-3. The australian team was no match and its a young team with no experience in sub-continents. So just hyping this 3-0 is doing no favours.

Posted by SasiGladi on (March 19, 2013, 10:21 GMT)

Many were asking whether Dawan/Vijay opening pair will click in SA even I am not sure about that they may need to work hard and adapt to condition in thing is sure Bhuvi is perfect fit for SA series he might be good in effect may not be equal to Philander but yes to certain extent....

Posted by   on (March 19, 2013, 9:36 GMT)

More than a few areas for concern for India, which cannot be simply papered over. If we have to effective is SA, a larger pool of pacers will need to be considered. Sreesanth and Mithun should be considered if fit. Personally, I think England did us a favour by beating us 2-1 in our own backyard. There was a considerable zeal in the way the Indians guarded against complacency and kept applying pressure against Australia, coz they were always wary of a fightback. Ashwin's return to form was heartening and augurs well for even overseas tests. With Dhoni at 6 and Jadeja at 7, there will be a flew flutters if the middle order wobbles. We also need to broaden the pool of batsmen available for the middle order...just in case !

Posted by srikanth.v on (March 19, 2013, 8:49 GMT)

I feel Sharda Ugra has been somewhat inflating Ravindra Jadeja's stature in her recent articles. No harm in acknowledging good performances, but Jaddu is noway an all rounder yet. He is yet to prove his batting in tests. His bowling cannot be trusted overseas. Given that, he is a home-test bowler who can at best bat as good as Harbhajan. Being Dhoni's pet is helping him. If he fails overseas, who will be number 6/7 ? Sorry! India's Middle order is not settled yet.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2013, 6:34 GMT)

India is rebuilding, and as a result has seen ups and down, one of the prime factors for the 8-0 and 2-1 debacle was the ever poor performance of stars like Laxman, Dravid(in Australia), Sachin, Viru, Gauti, Zaheer, Bhaji etc... and that is understandable considering that many of these players are/were on their last leg. Dhoni has done the right thing by getting youngsters in the team and they seem to be showing some promise... be it Pujara, Kohli, Jadeja, Ashwin, Umesh, Shikar or Vijay, all youngster look hungry.. can we win in SA with this team, maybe not, but we could give some fight and target winning in NZ first, India would be an ordinary team outside the sub continent for some time but it will improve.. fans must relish victories in the meantime ...

Posted by satishchandar on (March 19, 2013, 6:15 GMT)

BAU restored. In a emphatic manner. Win two tests in home conditions.. Third game comes with not so big pitch advantage, opponents fresher from good week rest, though is a homework disarray, lose the toss, opponents score 400+ with tail wag which will give them much needed momentum and relatively new batting lineup.. To win within 4 days and a session(if u include 4 extra 30 mins which would be a session time) is awesomatic performance from the team..

While people say it is not the best Aussie team, same with Indian team. To start with, Ojha was our only good bowler. We are playing with woeful Ishant, new boy Bhuvi, out of form Ashwin and another newbie RJ who was trashed in shorter formats across. Is this a world beating bowling lineup? Our batting had only Pujara in good form and Dhoni, Sachin and Virat in slump. Refer to comments at start of 2nd test to see how good Vijay was. It was a great team effort from almost every1 to do the job. Good job team. Finish it with a topping.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2013, 5:45 GMT)

My serious question to Dhoni bashers. Keeping Ganguly apart, who do they consider as a good captain from the past. Someone who came up with good captaincy decisions, fair selections and good results to back it up. I dont see anyone. I have seen every single captain from the last series of Pataudi against WI in 1974-75. He was a different class apart, that this generation would rarely realise. Otherwise Indian captaincy has been always the key reason for team not showing itself well. Defensive captaincy, biased regional selection et all has existed in Indian cricket historically. Dhoni proves his decision right every single one he takes. Just waiting to see what will happen in South Africa end of the year does not help. Sachin has been playing since early 1990s, but India started winning outside only after Saurav became a captain.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2013, 3:59 GMT)

I think Smith and Co. should be worried about this young man, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. If he really swings the way Dhoni believes he does then he is in for a long wicket haul for the three tests that are slated for this year in helpful conditions. I would have certainly liked a fit Zaheer Khan to tour as well but it seems a distant thought. However I don't think playing Jadeja would yield any good in those conditions. Instead Dhoni should use Irfan Pathan as an all rounder and Jadeja as the lone spinner. Also I would have liked to see a 'back-in-form' Praveen Kumar or an S Sreesanth in the line up. So my line up for SA would be Vijay, Dhawan, Pujara, Tendulkar, Kohli, Dhoni, Jadeja, Irfan Pathan, Bhuvaneshwar Kumar, Zaheer Khan/Praveen Kumar, Umesh Yadav with Rahane, Tiwary, S Sreesanth completing the 15 man squad.

Posted by ultimatewarrior on (March 19, 2013, 3:58 GMT)

Dhoni should give bowl to whoever is bowling best NOT ONLY just Ashwin, altogether Ashwin is bowling well.....if Dhoni want to be one of the greatest captain he has to be unbiased and unpolitical instead of giving reasons like Bhuvneshwar be used, "more with the new ball, especially in the subcontinental conditions." He is no doubt in great position to give Indian cricket New Heights....India has never ever deficiency of talents but its due to persisting with stars even when moderately delivering, was falling miserably....

Posted by Simoc on (March 19, 2013, 3:56 GMT)

Dhoni continues to show up his critics as complete plodders. Up by three now and it is a great time for Tendulkar to retire. SA isn't for him. The new guys are doing great and exposing the Australian batsmen and bowlers ability at test level in India. Given that Australia has won all three tosses things aren't likely to improve and this Indian team should push on from here; but I'm picking they will relax now.

Posted by Iluuvcricket on (March 19, 2013, 3:44 GMT)

Whoever has seen Dhoni's captaincy without any bias specially regarding his field placings, bowling changes, playing eleven and so on, will easily conclude that he is a pretty ordinary captain devoid of astuteness or tactics. Has anyone seen, Dhoni play swing bowling, I was disgusted by the way he was made to dance in English conditions, a captain playing like that is disgusting. It was not like a bad series or out of form like Sachin/Laxman suffered there or Rahul in Aus, majority of the times Dhoni struggles against quality swing bowling. All Dhoni's limitations are hidden away because of ODI and IPL exploits and unfortunately our Indian public is not able to differentiate between test match performance in general and overseas performance in particular and between the tamasha cricket, where Dhoni rules the roost.

The only positive aspect I see in Dhoni is his calm "show" on the field. He is a mastermind of playing decisive politics which we have seen in the ouster of Laxman, etc.

Posted by Sugath on (March 19, 2013, 3:35 GMT)

May be India in conditions familiar to them where the pitches are spin friendly and with a better spin attack has done it. But that does not make them dominant. Remember Australia rubbed India 4-0 in 2011 in pacey wickets and now it is the Indian turn. This is akin to the Stork inviting Fox to dinner and vice verse. At Stork home the soup was in long necked containers and Fox had to go hungry. At Fox house the soup was in flat plates and Stork went hungry. The real test for India will be later this year in South Africa where the pitches are for fast men like Steyn, Philander, Morkel etc. With a pedestrian fast attack and SA batters being better against spin, the likes of Amla, De Villers and others it will be different story. If the can repeat what they are doing now in South Africa then India can be considered dominant.

Posted by TATTUs on (March 19, 2013, 3:21 GMT)

I dont think even this team with this 'new formula' from Fletcher would be able to beat South Africa or England even at home. Our bowling is simply awful. Ojha Jadeja Aswin and Harbhajan in what ever combination they play are useless against batsmen who show even a remote resistance. They thrive on batsmen who play rash shots or some bounce and turn out of the blue. They cant outthink a batsman. The less I talk about the pacers[are there any?] the better. This batting line up may have scored against Australia. But they are without any decent spinner. Not long ago Panesar and Swann just bamboozled our batsmen here. Talking about overseas lets jsut wait and watch. Thats all I can say. If they do well we will al be happy. But lets savor the moment and not jump the gun.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2013, 2:50 GMT)

Team India Back to the 90's era where we used to crush opposition on home turners and losing badly overseas....

Posted by US_Indian on (March 19, 2013, 2:37 GMT)

Well as some one said earlier- bowlers who can take wickets no matter what the pitch is, who the opposition is, whether it is top 7 or bottom 4, be it a pacer or spinner is considered to be good bowler, and some one who depends on condition and other factors is an average bowler, and the one who exploits certain conditions and take wickets is a decent bowler and the one who creates situations for his success and has a mental attitude,creates magic out of nowhere is an excellent bowler. Sometimes dhoni's explanations, excuses lack logic and rationale, a good bowler will always be a good bowler no matter what, these left, right, old ball /new ball etc are unacceptable to people who know the game with real good intimate knowledge, I am not talking about the arm chair fans or the people who come to stadiums to get exposed in the televisions and to boast to their freinds, OMG i was in the stadium what an awesome match you mised it dude etc etc Dhoni should show confidence in his bowlers.

Posted by   on (March 19, 2013, 2:24 GMT)

The TV commentators touched on an interesting point during yesterday's play. The were talking about the recent performance of India's U19 team, and their win in Australian conditions to claim the U19 World Cup. Key things: 1. The team prepared rigourously on similar pitches to which they eventually played on. 2. The same team (not one with frequent rotations) spent a lot of time together, both on training camps and in team bonding sessions. 3. Players showed guts and strength of character. With the exception of point 3, India and Australia's senior teams would do well to head the benefits of points 1 and 2. This new look India team has the talent to win anywhere, especially when Umesh Yadav returns. Hopefully they use the confidence from this win, plus these factors to really step up their chances to now win series away from home.

Posted by 3Cents on (March 19, 2013, 1:35 GMT)

I made this comment before and would like to say it again. Dhoni, like Yuvi, is exceptional in conditions that suit their game (basically flat tracks or when the ball is not doing much). Dhoni's technique against the moving ball (conventional swing, reverse swing and spin) is really weak. Against top quality spinners (Pak, Eng, to an extent SL) he is found wanting. Again yesterday he showed he can't bat when the ball reverses a bit. Both siddle and starc showed him up comprehensively (for someone who scored 200 in an innings, he just couldn't get bat to the ball and rotate the strike). Sachin got out because of the pressure built by the Dhoni's inability at the other end. If horses for courses is a real policy adopted by the team, we should give Dhoni a break, whenever we play outside India in the test matches (or against high quality bowling sides like SA, PAK and Eng when they tour india). He is quite good for ODIs and can be retained the ODI captain across.

Posted by AvidCricFan on (March 19, 2013, 0:02 GMT)

Great result so far in this series. The young blood is producing results. I hope BCCI looks forward from this point on and not rely too much on players whose self life has expired. Hope the young blood takes their next assignment seriously and make amends to play on fast and bouncy wickets in SA. BCCI should plan out the SA tour properly with ample training time to let player adapt to the SA conditions.

Posted by anshumans1 on (March 18, 2013, 23:51 GMT)

This appears to be an article written in a hurry. Rampaging 90s had two consecutive 3 match wins but are excluded from where they should have been mentioned. And if we take out those 6 matches against England and SL then even the rampaging 90s do not look so rampaging anymore. The author also says "between their two embarrassing 0-4 defeats in England and Australia, India beat New Zealand, West Indies and now Australia" - if I am right then it was only WI that was beaten by India between the two thrashings. First time that I havefound one of your articles not up to the mark Sharda. And let's not get carried away with these wins. We are playing on spinner friendly tracks against a team that does not have the confidence to face spin . On similar tracks better batsmen and better spin bowlers showed India up. Could there be any other reason for the loss to England? We will be asking similar questions to when we came back from Australia after we come back from SA at the end of 2013.

Posted by huffpost on (March 18, 2013, 23:51 GMT)

@cpt-meanster... Before commenting, I would suggest you to check the stats .. Test matches in India have produced more results than draws in the last 2 decades. And also contrary to what you say, India have vastly improved their record outside the subcontinent in the last 10 years. We have won test matches in Australia,South Africa, NZ,WI and England. No other sub continent team has done this..Its true they did badly in England and Australia after the world cup win ..but now they seem to have bounced back and look settled. Ganguly was a good captain but Dhoni is India's best captain ever.Period. It is under Dhoni that India reached the Number 1 ranking in test cricket which is a very big acheivement not to mention the two world cups.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 23:37 GMT)

Too many ARM CHAIR CRITICS & COMMENTATORS here. Anyway well done India. To bowl a badly wavering Ishant Sharma instead of a wicket producing B. Kumar is nothing but MSD's tactics of protecting "liked" buddies, but somehow it was his day, thanks to Jadeja swinging his bat.!! Facts are hard to swallow as the results only count even if mis-judgements were made. But Hats Off to MSD, for the result. Nobody can say that the Indians had advantage on their home pitch. Its just that Aussies have no quality spinners like Warnie, Stuart McGill & Hogg, who would have made life miserable on a turning pitch. OVERALL GOOD RESULT.. Well Done Team India!!

Posted by wake_up_india on (March 18, 2013, 23:20 GMT)

Finally, the youth in the team, unafraid to take risks and be themselves, is making a difference. This is the team that should have been Team India after the England debacle in England. And Sachin should go to South Africa as one of the commentators (along with Ravi Shastri and VVS).

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 22:29 GMT)

You said it Sharda, in your last line...nit picking is what the article is all about. It is wrongly titled!! It was a very good win; may have been tense at the end, makes for good contest and good on you to praise Aussies for that. Fair enough. However, you ned to be as much balanced about Indian team. And to suggest India were in danger of loosing, is a joke only nit pickers would make. No where you mentioned that it was a FOUR day test; Aussies got the first use of lovely wicket AND they put on 408, but still India could roll them. I am sure if India was done in this way anywhere, you would be hammering them mercilessly. It is about time you focussed upon the facts rather than dishing out your prejudices. Please keep it balanced if you want your readers to have any kind of faith in your writing. Give the man his due, for once without begrudging him. This is a fantastic achievement, whatever level of opposition it may be.

Posted by sixnout on (March 18, 2013, 21:36 GMT)

I hope the negatives does not get swept under the carpet. The batting in India has largely been dictated by 2 batsmen in every match.. Dhoni and Kohli in Chennai, Pujara and Vijay in Hyderabad and Vijay and Dhawan in Mohali. The rest have contributed 20s or 30's in those matches. Its tough to emulate or expect 2 batsmen to score huge centures consistently overseas or even at home like England showed. And the way they let the Aussie tailenders bat for so long.

Posted by PPD123 on (March 18, 2013, 21:32 GMT)

@ Shalom Patole - This win is comparable since India itself was no big favourite going into this series. They just lost a series to Eng and from the team that you have referred - India did not have Dravid, VVS, Gambhir and Zaheer (not to mention Sehwag and Harbhajan - who were equal to not being there this time around as well due to their non performance). Add to the fact India had greenhorns like Vijay, bhuvaneshwar, pujara(very good but still in the process of establishing himself) Dhawan and I feel this 3-0 margin tastes even sweeter. Give credit where due.

Posted by Temuzin on (March 18, 2013, 20:50 GMT)

Graet Job Dhoni. You persisted with players you believed have talents. You endure critics fair or unfair or even out right biased ones. And you came out winner. Hats off to your tenacity, vision and ability to control games. Your selection has become productive,.. Murali, Pujara, Dhawan, Kohli, jadeja, Ashwin, Bhuvnesh, all have shown guts to play well and win the match. Keep it up and ignore the jealous ones.

Posted by Sameer-hbk on (March 18, 2013, 20:44 GMT)

We must commend the curators of all 3 grounds because they produced wickets that threw up results. Of course, Australia's batting helped a whole lot as well. But it is hard to see what all the fuss is about. Next series is in SA and it will be interesting to see how many of these 'young guns' will perform against Steyn and co. When Aussie bowlers were bowling a testing spell, late in the day today, it looked like none could even get their bats close to the ball confidently barring Sachin. Sure, Pujara is also top-notch, but apart from the 2, don't really think the Vijay's and Dhawan's will get runs in SA. Flat/dust bowl track bullies... That too only against mediocre spinners. Remember Swann and Monty... What dominance???

Posted by Born_Smart on (March 18, 2013, 20:42 GMT)

You give two previous instance of 3 consecutive test wins by Indian side in 90s. But in the very next paragraph you contradict it by saying that India didn't manage it even during rampaging 90s. Am I the only one who noticed that?

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 20:26 GMT)

Basically a team needs the following to win test matches domestic or abroad. 1. Solid opening batsmen (One attacking) with 3 of the top 5 in awesome form and talent. 2. Great keeper who can bat when the situation demands. Not a batsman who keeps a bit. 3. 3 out of the 5 specialist wicket taking in-form bowlers 4. Last but not the least, a captain who can lead from the front and Marshall his resources wisely. Out of all, #4 is debatable as most of the successful captains had great teams, even if they were so great or not. LLoyd, Waugh, Pointing, Smith etc had all the above.... So, bottomline is .. Indians have high expectations from individuals rather than the team. So, it's understandable that we mak Stars and criticise the same individuals. When the performance on the entire team is measured, India can become #1 world class team. Yeah... on top of all don't forget about selector's politics and BCCI say in the matter.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 19:52 GMT)

Dhoni has to go from test matches.. he is a flat track player and should be played in one dayers only.. i know he scored a double but i dont see him lasting 10 balls in south africa.. selectors need to pick players with right techniques irrespective of records.. people need to realize that this team is destined to be doomed if one slot is given to some body like dhoni.. and who calls jadeja an alrounder?? he is a sitting duck for fast bowlers.. we need to get irfan in for alrounder spot and ask bhuvneshwar to work on his batting skills.. team should have 14 players who can perform in any conditions.. period!

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 19:50 GMT)

To all MSD critics: We all know it needs someone to have nerves of steel to lead Indian team to get good results. Many of us remember how we lost 3 wickets in the controversial test of 2008 oz tour in the last over of the test. What a shame that we lost 3 wickets to a part-time spin (Clarke) even of tail. if we felt that pain, we are glad that today we managed to win, even a draw would've been disgusting in the end. So, MSD is the best we have had for many years as a solid wicket keeper Captain. Sole search and compare with the kind of keepers we had in the past. Reality is that MSD deserves his choice more than anyone else to give away captaincy or to retire on his own terms, BTW.. he is smart enough to make that call. MSD has confidence, talent with bat, keeping skills and is improving Captaincy, Needs a bit of expert advice on field placements & bowling rotation from the Veterans. Our Veterans are good at talking, not adding value unlike the way Border was mentoring Clarke this week

Posted by baskar_guha on (March 18, 2013, 19:37 GMT)

Dhoni's handling of his bowlers only works when they are brimming with self confidence. Except for the super-confident Jadeja and the increasingly confident Ashwin, the rest looked less sure of themselves and that almost always happens when they are worried that the captain doesnt think they have the goods. For example, B Kumar in his second spell was a shadow of what he was at the start of the innings, done in likely by his own puzzlement of not having bowled after taking the top 3 (who scores 70+, 80+, 90+) respectively in innings 1.

Posted by ProdigyA on (March 18, 2013, 19:30 GMT)

It is not the first time Dhoni comes up with such stupid logics. Benching long time performers just to have left handers in the team, having bhajji just cause opposing team has left handers, Bhuvi should bowl only with the new ball. Just illogical and the problem is he is so stubborn with these that he is never even willing to try something else for a change.

Posted by RAGSMAN on (March 18, 2013, 19:13 GMT)

I've been a great fan of Sachin ever since he played his first match. I'd honestly like to see him hang his boots after the oz series with dignity. It's the right time and a great opportunity with a sense of satisfaction just before retiring. The current team also assures the desire to succeed and so India should stick to the plan of youth. Every debutante is taking the chance seriously as we notice so there's no scope of any guaranteed spot to anyone. All we need to do now is prepare some practice pitches that have serious bounce and grassy wicket and make our pool of quickies practice before they land in SA for the upcoming tour. We do not want a Zaheer khan again only to sit out with hamstring after his first appearance. Time to move on for India and build the right team. Congrats and make it 4-0 which demoralizes oz, I bet the sledging from this oz team is way lesser than the previous ones of recent past so does the talent. Wonder if sledging comes with talent and over confidence!

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 18:51 GMT)

It's unacceptable to concede so many runs to the OZ tail. We cannot go back to the same days where we struggled taking last 4 wickets particularly in overseas even in India now with 5 specialist bowlers. There are more positives for oz to take from the 3rd test than for India. However, one +ve for Ind is that any debutante started performing as the good old days of retaining a set of players for generations is becoming dated now - a good sign. Time for building some real quickies with some grassy and bouncy pitches in domestic circuit here before we leave for SA tour. Else, it'll be Ind that'll be in the receiving end.

Posted by InnocentGuy on (March 18, 2013, 18:44 GMT)

Yup, while this is no mean achievement, it doesn't make the Indian Test side vastly better. To me, this is just an incremental improvement. There's still miles to go before the side can be considered anywhere close to even being a competitive international Test side, let alone the best.

Posted by nyc_missile on (March 18, 2013, 18:41 GMT)

A great time and opportunity to phase out Sachin who's been woeful this series but for that 80 and just blocking a young batsman to bloom in helpful conditions.Also time to phase out Dhoni from test team,who is fast slipping as a keeper with dropped catches and also as a batsman against quality swing/reverse swing bowling that too at home.Overall catching too hence is contagiously poor with slips too shelling some easy ones.Groom Rahane,Tiwary ,Rayudu and Saha straight away with Kohli as the captain who seems to have matured & learned fast and got back his mojo, after the Eng blip.I don't want a scenario when Dhoni gives up tests in Dec 2013 after losing the SA series like he had wanted and predicted in Oz.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (March 18, 2013, 18:31 GMT)

@yoohoo, agree with you about the list. But, how do you know that Rasool isn't ready yet when we didn't even see him on the international stage? Harbhajan is still in the squad. Isn't he? He should be dropped. Jadeja is doing great now. I would like him to perform abroad too. No way to know unless you play him there. So, fair play to him. He needs to be given a chance in away tours too. But, I'm not sure he would succeed with the bat. He is a decent batsman but not sure if he could be useful abroad in his all-rounder role. Looks like Rahane will be thrown to the wolves directly in SA. Ideally, he should have been playing this series in the place of Statchin. It's about time that he is dropped as he doesn't seem to have the decency to retire. The 'perennial' unlucky Ishant HAS to go. His stats so far are just pathetic. What all he has is height and abundance of hair instead of wickets. Shame!

Posted by Bonehead_maz on (March 18, 2013, 18:30 GMT)

Congratulations to India for winning the Border Gavaskar trophy. Our team to your shores, was this time (like most times) out of their depth.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 18:14 GMT)

Folks please stop comparing India's of 2011-12 season 8-0 whitewash with this 3-0 lead at home.Team India then gave no fight at all or for that matter from 1st day of test to last day (most of them were over in less than 4 days) Aussie despite crapy selection and odds against them did give India run for their money for most of 3 days. To me Indian team under Dhoni is still that team which allowed WI, NZ, Eng to get away with draws when they should have completed the match with tons of overs to spare. Worst Dhoni allowed this team to be taken to cleaners for 8 consecutive test matches without makning any change Clarke is giving his best and making changes albeit not to much affect.

Posted by yoohoo on (March 18, 2013, 18:07 GMT)

@Dravid_Gravitas - Actually it is Viru, Gambhir, Dravid, Laxman, Yuvi, Raina, and Zaheer out (the 8-0 losing bunch, and dravid and laxman have a big hand in that too), while Vijay, dhawan, pujara, jadeja, and bhuvi in. Harbhajan is also out now, and once umesh is back Ishant will also be out. Rasool is not good enough yet, he needs to play atleast a couple of more seasons of ranji before he can even be considered.

Posted by CivilGaurav on (March 18, 2013, 17:23 GMT)

Agree with Sharda - I too do not see much logic in many of the things which Dhoni does. Also it is strange that the Indian team consistently manages to get the upper order out cheaply and then struggles with the lower order. One would expect it to be a cakewalk specially on a fifth day pitch . Anyway in the end it made for an exciting match - but if it had been any other result, I would not be saying this!

Posted by usernames on (March 18, 2013, 17:20 GMT)

@Shalom - No, not really. People did give these Aussies a chance, especially after the English debacle. I think this has been a good performance, and it's heartening to see youngsters coming up and performing. Pujara, Dhawan, Kohli, Bhuvneshwar, Ashwin, and Vijay have all been very good.

That, of course, has to be kept in perspective. It's a weak Australian team and the pitches have supported our style of play. Even then, 350+ runs, 22 and 17 wickets, initial breakthroughs, crucial runs at the tail, etc. have been great to see. One of the key things that's led to our success here are top-order runs. Dhoni saved our face in the first test otherwise we were toast.

In the second and third, however, Pujara, Vijay, and Dhawan have done very well. Kudos to India, and it's time to enjoy this! :)

Posted by kluvsindia on (March 18, 2013, 17:13 GMT)

I sometimes fail to understand what actually pleases you Sharda. You seem to like the Azaruddin style of captancy of the nintys.But I think this plan of Dhonis the way he has used his bowlers is excellent in the sub continents and makes a lot of sense... Bhuvi is a good bowler true, but asking him to try and bowl wicket taking deliveries with an old ball on flat unresponsive sub continent tracks is too much. And when he does not respond to that and concedes runs he will be crucified in you cricitc articles along with Dhoni for not bringing in his spinners early.. This lad willl get more of a bowl from Dhoni abroad in english and South African conditions. And frankly speaking, a five bowler theory is something we must always look at.. You could see how comfortable Dhoni was with this and he could ring in the changes without worrying abt fatigue of the bowlers. And such horses for corses changes in bowling is how we can win more in the sub continent with such authority

Posted by Cpt.Meanster on (March 18, 2013, 17:12 GMT)

It goes to show two major things about the history of Indian test cricket. The fact that our pitches and conditions DO NOT favour outright results unless the opposition flops too easily AND the fact that India have never really been a strong test team. Even with the famed middle order, India were poor travellers and only under Ganguly since 2000 have really competed away consistently. Over the last 18-24 months, India were whitewashed 8-0 throwing us back to an era of home dominance and away regression. What really opened the Indian team's eyes would have been the 2-1 surprise victory by England recently. Once you begin losing even at home, severe measures will always be taken. I can definitely see an improvement in the efforts of the Indian players on field and also their approach to doing things before the game. I hope this takes India from strength to strength. They have away tours coming up early in 2014 and things will only get tougher for them.

Posted by citizenkc on (March 18, 2013, 17:11 GMT)

Congratulations to Team India. Now come the hard questions as three overseas tours await us, all in places that are going to offer formidable challenges, especially in finding the skills to play pace and swing. Three points are foremost in my mind. 1. Sachin should decide how much longer he is playing. He will be 40 by the time we visit SA. If he is not announcing his retirement for Delhi then SA should be his last series. He can provide exp. and the team can train someone for NZ and England against SA's bowlers--perhaps playing the tour matches or as number six. 2. Jadeja cannot play as an all rounder; his batting is not test standard; either he plays as bowler or not at all; that means we need a number 6 (see point number 1) 3. We need at least 4/5 fast bowlers in reserve. At the moment, Ishant keeps playing even though his strike rate is appalling for a test level player. If we can address these three points and if the new opening combination clicks, then we can win overseas.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 17:05 GMT)

Very good article, this Australia team came here talking about how easy it was to travel in India etc, they've been reduced to rubble. Clarke may not play in Delhi and thats gonna be a big blow. If and if India win in Delhi, please show me where a white washed team has returned the complement in the return series in the history of the game, never. It is no mean feat. If you recall Steffi Grag beat Natalia Zvereva 6-0 6-0 in a French open match, could you imagine the reverse happening, thats how creditable this performance this is. And this is over 4 test matches, hats off to India to redeeming some of its lost pride that too with a new team, no other team has pulled this off before.

Posted by Dravid_Pujara_Gravitas on (March 18, 2013, 17:04 GMT)

Difference in personnel - Viru, Gambhir, Zaheer, Yuvraj out and Vijay, Dhawan, Bhuvi and Jadeja in. Now please extend it to Statchin, Ishant and Harbhajan and bring in Rahane, Shami and Rasool. Umesh will be in when he recovers completely. We should be all set.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 16:47 GMT)

Now-a-days tailenders batting capability has been vastly increased. Why dont you give the credit where there is due. Bhuvi and Dhoni had played for around 150 partnership in chennai. Even against so called SA bowling lineup yesterday riaz scored 45 runs. In the same mohali, ishanth and laxman added 120 runs, when india were down at 120/8 in the chase of around 240. Every country is struggling to get lower order wickets.

Posted by   on (March 18, 2013, 16:36 GMT)

Come on Sharda how can we even compare Oz 2011- 12 to this? There we were favorites to beat the new look Aussies, with our star studded line up of Sachin, Sehwag, VVS and Dravid who had lit up their shores earlier. Nobody EVER EVER gave these Aussies a chance. There is no point crowing about our wins here. It would have reflected badly on us if we lost a single test to them.So its ok to celebrate these victories. But to say it was an equivalent of the 2011-12 Oz tour is being as short sighted as the previous group of Indian selectors.

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Tour Results
India v Australia at Delhi - Mar 22-24, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Mohali - Mar 14-18, 2013
India won by 6 wickets
India v Australia at Hyderabad (Deccan) - Mar 2-5, 2013
India won by an innings and 135 runs
India v Australia at Chennai - Feb 22-26, 2013
India won by 8 wickets
India A v Australians at Chennai - Feb 16-18, 2013
Match drawn
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