January 20, 2008

New life for a young rivalry

Australia v India has, over the last decade, grown into cricket's premier face-off, and on the evidence of the current series there's plenty to come
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India's young bowlers are inspiring a team that has for long been overly top-heavy in batting © Getty Images

The intense rivalry that now exists between Australia and India kicked into high gear in 1997-98, appropriately initiated by a wonderful contest between two champions Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar in Chennai.

With Warne now more interested in straight flushes than turning legbreaks, and Tendulkar's glittering career winding down, it was easy to assume this rivalry had been a sprint rather than a marathon. However, the startling events in the current Test series have shown that the contest has had a second wind. We're in for many more years of intense competition between these two proud cricketing nations.

The once great divide that characterised these two teams, the inability to compete away from home, has closed like an unhinged door over the last few years. Under Ricky Ponting, Australia broke their hoodoo and won a series in India for the first time in 35 years. Now Anil Kumble has led a vibrant side to an inspired win at the WACA, the bouncy graveyard of many touring sides, not just India.

For Australia, talented young cricketers like Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson and a revitalised Brett Lee are providing the spark for a continued run of success. On the other side, RP Singh, Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma are inspiring an Indian side that has for long been top-heavy in batting. The successful injection of new blood into both teams provides ample evidence that this rivalry is far from a dwindling affair.

The fact that India has been able to shrug off a turbulent loss at the SCG and disregard the ridiculous hyperbole surrounding the WACA pitch to bat first and dictate terms in the third Test is indicative of a changing mindset in the team. India is unearthing a new breed of Test match player, more competitive and resilient. Kumble has embraced this trend and Mahendra Singh Dhoni embodies its spirit.

The resurgence of Irfan Pathan is a particularly pleasing aspect of India's determined performance. Pathan has always been a talented and smart cricketer but that doesn't make him immune to the peaks and troughs all players have to endure. The good signs at the WACA suggest he's been to the valley and is now on the ascent, as a far stronger character.

His grit and strokeplay when batting was encouraging but it was the sight of him swinging the new ball at a reasonable pace that suggested his confidence was returning. He knew his bowling was needed in Adelaide, but just so the selectors would have no doubts about picking him, he strode to the wicket as a night-watchman and after outlasting four illustrious partners, returned to the pavilion a bonafide top-order batsman. He won't always have good days but this Test should have given him the confidence to avoid slipping back to the dark times he has just endured.

 
 
The fate of the Ashes in 2005 turned on England's ability to swing the ball, and last year India turned the tables on Michael Vaughan's side in the same way. Now we've had the result of a wonderful contest at the WACA determined by the swinging ball
 

On the other side of the ledger a young Australian fast bowler will have learned a good lesson after a few demoralising days at the WACA. With so much talk about the pitch being fast and bouncy, Shaun Tait was sucked into making an ill-advised comment about bowling the fastest ball ever delivered. This comment was delivered before the match started but he was unable to deliver on the field and finished low on confidence, bowling in the 130s, and couldn't even erase the tailenders at a crucial time in the match. Tait should now know that it's wiser to let your deeds do the talking and that Test matches are a far cry from the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am razzmatazz of Twenty20 cricket.

Test cricket can be an absorbing contest when bat and ball are evenly matched. And in a game that can be sheep-like in its ability to follow meaningless trends, it's to be hoped the impact of swinging deliveries on recent Test series has been noted. The fate of the Ashes in 2005 turned on England's ability to swing the ball, and last year India turned the tables on Michael Vaughan's side in the same way. Now we've had the result of a wonderful contest at the WACA determined by the swinging ball. It's a timely reminder of the importance of this often undervalued skill.

Twenty years ago talk of an intense rivalry between Australia and India receiving a boost on the bouncy WACA pitch would have been sufficient grounds for certification, followed by insertion into a white gown and a padded cell. There's nothing like a healthy rivalry and a keen contest to quickly erase any thoughts of madness and conspiracy.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Azfar on January 23, 2008, 4:54 GMT

    The rivalry between India & Australia in the last 10 years has little to do with Tendulkar vr Warne as Ian Chappell suggestes. In 5 series between the two teams in the last 10 years Warne featured in only 1 of them.It seems Ian Chappell finds it difficult to make any point without talking about Warne! The India-Aus matches have the edge because India is the only team which has run Aus close in the last 10 years. In this same period Australia has enjoyed a period of dominance rarely seen in the history of the game. During this period India did things which no other team could do - they demolished Warne, they scored 700+ in an innings in Australia, they beat Aus after following on,they beat Aus in Perth, Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar and Kumble have great records against Aus, Sehwag smashed 195 in less than a day in Aus. Now the time has come when India can consistently beat Australia.

  • KingofPace on January 22, 2008, 12:27 GMT

    Mr Ian is very right as we can see from the test matches played since 1998. both teams trying to overcome each other, but never outplayed opposition. A far better opposition Oz have faced at home in last decade. If the administrators could have manage more time for Indian team to get used of Oz's conditions on this tour, we would have seen a completely different results apart from some unfortunate poor umpiring. This kind of rivalry will make test cricket more pleasant. Best of luck team India

  • snaren777 on January 22, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    Its been a terrific series so far. And its clear that the mighty aussies are susceptible to genuine swing bowling. I guess we would have been in the front had Zaheer and Sreeshant been fit. Their abiliy to swing the ball at a good pace would have made life worser for the aussie batsmen. However i feel that now is the real test for the Indians. They got the Aussies off guard at Perth and now they will be raring to take revenge. It will be fascinating to see how the young pacemen respond. On thing is for sure though. If the Aussies try too hard they are going to hit the ground. Cheers

  • chiko123 on January 22, 2008, 5:31 GMT

    If India wins the test in Adelaide, I hope this series is remembered for the right reason i.e. to re-affirm the faith in the age old saying "Everything is fair in Love and War". You can neglect the "Love" part but I hope you understand the "War" part. Play hard, play tough, be crooked, cheat, bribe, do whatever without getting caught (to say stay within rules) and WIN --- that's the bottomline!!! There is no reason to deviate from this stance. Be firm on this because there is nothing wrong with this. Not everyone has the capacity to think or comprehend that "There is something more than Winning". Only the life can teach this. And there is no point in believing this unless someday down the years you learn it yourself. There is no point in just faking it for anyone because in essence you are still not enlightened. Trying to fake this, will create just another rule book with infinite number of loopholes - Just like the Spirit of Cricket.

  • jvicks on January 22, 2008, 2:14 GMT

    An interesting insight from Ian. Now, moving forward and talking about the forthcoming tri series, below are the lists of India's Playing XI for two possible pitch condition:

    On Batting Pitch 1. sehwag 2. gambhir 3. sachin 4. Yuvraj 5. uthappa 6. dhoni 7. pathan 8. harbhajan 9. RP singh 10. Ishant sharma 11. Sreesanth

    On Balling Pitch 1. sehwag 2. gambhir 3. sachin 4. Yuvraj 5. uthappa 6. suresh raina/ rohit sharma 7. dhoni 8. pathan 9. harbhajan 10. RP singh 11. Sreesanth /Ishant sharma

  • Nampally on January 22, 2008, 2:04 GMT

    India Vs. Pakistan rivalry is based on politics. But India Vs. Australia rivalry is based on Cricket mastery. In the first test India were outplayed. The other two tests were close, high on intensity and quality of cricket. If Umpiring decisions were split 50-50 instead of 80-20 for Aussies in the second test, India most likely would have won it. Amyway India showed their determination and resolve by winning the third test overcoming the bad luck of Second test. Indian 5-day test team is strong in batting which countered Australian pace attack more confidently than any other team. Make no mistake, the Indian ODI team selected is very young & balanced and will put up a creditable show against the present Aussies. The bulk of this ODI Indian team is the team which Aussies will likely face during the next decade. With Haydon, Gilchrist and Hussey retiring soon & Ponting and Gilchrist to follow, Aussies need to find Quality repalceble batsmen for continued rivalry.

  • rastus_odinga_esquire on January 22, 2008, 1:46 GMT

    Oh come on!

    India win ONE match and now there is a cricket "rivalry" between Australia and India? Are you joking???

    Even with their stars, India are at best a mediocre team. Their batsmen don't run well between wickets, they can't field, and they still fold under pressure.

    India's win in Perth resulted more from Australian errors than "inspirational" performances by the Indian team.

    Australia lost in Perth because they overestimated the bounce on the Perth wicket (picking 4 quicks) and then underestimated the Indian bowling attack (with their attempted "slogfest" in their own first innings).

    Finally, with the quicks getting on top in India's second innings, Ponting was forced to bowl part-time spinners for 21 overs to catch up on the over-rate. This gave India at least 80 runs more than they would have otherwise had.

    As India rely on Aussie errors (which don't often happen) in order to conjure up a token "win", it will either be Aus 3-1, or Aus 2-1 after Adelaide.

  • Jilla60 on January 21, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    Indian team has bounced back from the 2 losses. Indian bowlers performed very well in the conditions that were supposed to suit the Aussies. I am also glad that Cricket ultimately prevailed and moved on from another dirty chapter. If India wins in Adelaide, then even though the series will be 2-2, India could be said to have won the series (considering the Sydney at best can only be viewed as a draw).

  • DieterK on January 21, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    Good to see the great rivalry developing between India and Australia - it can only be good for the game. Reading through all the comments posted though, I get the impression of over confidence on the side of the Indian supporters. Well done for winning at the WACA, but don't get carried away. All teams (including Australia) have their off days. Also, when talking about the top teams in the world today, don't forget South Africa. With a younger team than both Aus and India, and probably the most exciting young bowlers in world cricket today, WATCH OUT! SA is coming to seriously challenge you...

  • tigersfan on January 21, 2008, 9:41 GMT

    Also from this series we have seen that Australia has little to no depth. Players such as Tait, Rogers, Hogg and Johnson really haven't made much of a mark in this series, and two of them are over thirty years of age. Australia better find themselves some quality rookies or they could find that they are no longer a great threat to International cricket.

  • Azfar on January 23, 2008, 4:54 GMT

    The rivalry between India & Australia in the last 10 years has little to do with Tendulkar vr Warne as Ian Chappell suggestes. In 5 series between the two teams in the last 10 years Warne featured in only 1 of them.It seems Ian Chappell finds it difficult to make any point without talking about Warne! The India-Aus matches have the edge because India is the only team which has run Aus close in the last 10 years. In this same period Australia has enjoyed a period of dominance rarely seen in the history of the game. During this period India did things which no other team could do - they demolished Warne, they scored 700+ in an innings in Australia, they beat Aus after following on,they beat Aus in Perth, Dravid, Laxman, Tendulkar and Kumble have great records against Aus, Sehwag smashed 195 in less than a day in Aus. Now the time has come when India can consistently beat Australia.

  • KingofPace on January 22, 2008, 12:27 GMT

    Mr Ian is very right as we can see from the test matches played since 1998. both teams trying to overcome each other, but never outplayed opposition. A far better opposition Oz have faced at home in last decade. If the administrators could have manage more time for Indian team to get used of Oz's conditions on this tour, we would have seen a completely different results apart from some unfortunate poor umpiring. This kind of rivalry will make test cricket more pleasant. Best of luck team India

  • snaren777 on January 22, 2008, 9:06 GMT

    Its been a terrific series so far. And its clear that the mighty aussies are susceptible to genuine swing bowling. I guess we would have been in the front had Zaheer and Sreeshant been fit. Their abiliy to swing the ball at a good pace would have made life worser for the aussie batsmen. However i feel that now is the real test for the Indians. They got the Aussies off guard at Perth and now they will be raring to take revenge. It will be fascinating to see how the young pacemen respond. On thing is for sure though. If the Aussies try too hard they are going to hit the ground. Cheers

  • chiko123 on January 22, 2008, 5:31 GMT

    If India wins the test in Adelaide, I hope this series is remembered for the right reason i.e. to re-affirm the faith in the age old saying "Everything is fair in Love and War". You can neglect the "Love" part but I hope you understand the "War" part. Play hard, play tough, be crooked, cheat, bribe, do whatever without getting caught (to say stay within rules) and WIN --- that's the bottomline!!! There is no reason to deviate from this stance. Be firm on this because there is nothing wrong with this. Not everyone has the capacity to think or comprehend that "There is something more than Winning". Only the life can teach this. And there is no point in believing this unless someday down the years you learn it yourself. There is no point in just faking it for anyone because in essence you are still not enlightened. Trying to fake this, will create just another rule book with infinite number of loopholes - Just like the Spirit of Cricket.

  • jvicks on January 22, 2008, 2:14 GMT

    An interesting insight from Ian. Now, moving forward and talking about the forthcoming tri series, below are the lists of India's Playing XI for two possible pitch condition:

    On Batting Pitch 1. sehwag 2. gambhir 3. sachin 4. Yuvraj 5. uthappa 6. dhoni 7. pathan 8. harbhajan 9. RP singh 10. Ishant sharma 11. Sreesanth

    On Balling Pitch 1. sehwag 2. gambhir 3. sachin 4. Yuvraj 5. uthappa 6. suresh raina/ rohit sharma 7. dhoni 8. pathan 9. harbhajan 10. RP singh 11. Sreesanth /Ishant sharma

  • Nampally on January 22, 2008, 2:04 GMT

    India Vs. Pakistan rivalry is based on politics. But India Vs. Australia rivalry is based on Cricket mastery. In the first test India were outplayed. The other two tests were close, high on intensity and quality of cricket. If Umpiring decisions were split 50-50 instead of 80-20 for Aussies in the second test, India most likely would have won it. Amyway India showed their determination and resolve by winning the third test overcoming the bad luck of Second test. Indian 5-day test team is strong in batting which countered Australian pace attack more confidently than any other team. Make no mistake, the Indian ODI team selected is very young & balanced and will put up a creditable show against the present Aussies. The bulk of this ODI Indian team is the team which Aussies will likely face during the next decade. With Haydon, Gilchrist and Hussey retiring soon & Ponting and Gilchrist to follow, Aussies need to find Quality repalceble batsmen for continued rivalry.

  • rastus_odinga_esquire on January 22, 2008, 1:46 GMT

    Oh come on!

    India win ONE match and now there is a cricket "rivalry" between Australia and India? Are you joking???

    Even with their stars, India are at best a mediocre team. Their batsmen don't run well between wickets, they can't field, and they still fold under pressure.

    India's win in Perth resulted more from Australian errors than "inspirational" performances by the Indian team.

    Australia lost in Perth because they overestimated the bounce on the Perth wicket (picking 4 quicks) and then underestimated the Indian bowling attack (with their attempted "slogfest" in their own first innings).

    Finally, with the quicks getting on top in India's second innings, Ponting was forced to bowl part-time spinners for 21 overs to catch up on the over-rate. This gave India at least 80 runs more than they would have otherwise had.

    As India rely on Aussie errors (which don't often happen) in order to conjure up a token "win", it will either be Aus 3-1, or Aus 2-1 after Adelaide.

  • Jilla60 on January 21, 2008, 16:25 GMT

    Indian team has bounced back from the 2 losses. Indian bowlers performed very well in the conditions that were supposed to suit the Aussies. I am also glad that Cricket ultimately prevailed and moved on from another dirty chapter. If India wins in Adelaide, then even though the series will be 2-2, India could be said to have won the series (considering the Sydney at best can only be viewed as a draw).

  • DieterK on January 21, 2008, 13:06 GMT

    Good to see the great rivalry developing between India and Australia - it can only be good for the game. Reading through all the comments posted though, I get the impression of over confidence on the side of the Indian supporters. Well done for winning at the WACA, but don't get carried away. All teams (including Australia) have their off days. Also, when talking about the top teams in the world today, don't forget South Africa. With a younger team than both Aus and India, and probably the most exciting young bowlers in world cricket today, WATCH OUT! SA is coming to seriously challenge you...

  • tigersfan on January 21, 2008, 9:41 GMT

    Also from this series we have seen that Australia has little to no depth. Players such as Tait, Rogers, Hogg and Johnson really haven't made much of a mark in this series, and two of them are over thirty years of age. Australia better find themselves some quality rookies or they could find that they are no longer a great threat to International cricket.

  • bikku on January 21, 2008, 9:32 GMT

    Chappel made a factual mistake in this arrticle. He wrote about 2004 series 'Under Ricky Ponting, Australia broke their hoodoo and won a series in India for the first time in 35 years.' Actually Aussie achieved this feat under Adam Gilchrist not Ponting because Ponting did not play in first three tests of that series. He came back in Mumbai test that Australia Lost. So please dont take that credit away from Adam Gilchrist what he deserves.

  • DAN22 on January 21, 2008, 6:16 GMT

    Some feedback on the emails above

    1) I feel Ian Chappell is very partial when it comes to commentating...In Sydney on Day 5 when Ricky was not declaring hence forcing India to go on the defensive, he was criticising India for being defensive...The best part was when he said that there is no way RP Singh is going to get a wicket with that field placing and thats what RP did on the very next ball...No apologies from Ian (even a tongue-in-cheek would have done).

    About Australia not having Glenn and Warne...people forget that the bowlers we had were not our first choice bowlers too...

    One thing is more clear now...take away gamesmanship and partial (I wont call them incompetent as all mistakes were done against one team) umpires and Australia goes flat...

    Expect to see the ugly Aussie in Adelaide especially if India dominates day 1 and 2.

  • DineshIyer on January 21, 2008, 3:38 GMT

    I know that the events of Sydney are water under the bridge. But if that match had been drawn, the series would have been tied at 1-1 with all to play for at Adelaide. However, as it stands now, it gives Aus an option to play a bit conservative in order to eek out a draw in the event that they get behind in the match. I am sure they are not going to do it because they would like to make it a 3-1 victory!

  • ndogcricfan on January 21, 2008, 1:35 GMT

    To Intellectual You are correct in saying that the big 5 will be gone soon. However, you are incorrect in saying that they are irreplaceable. True, Yuvraj failed in this test series, but his ODI ability is above that of any current Oz. How many of them hit ever 6 6's in an over? Dhoni is a wicketkeeper who is a serious contender for Gilchrist's spot; look at his catches from the Perth test. Piyush Chawla has a legpsin ability rival to Kumble. Laxman's batting position at #6 can be maintained by Uttapa. As for the big three (Tendla, Ganguly, Dravid) there are young batsmen who will be vying to take their spots; R Sharma, Gambhir, Raina, Badrinath and Kartik. Yes, these five aren't as good as the Big 3, but with practice and experience, they will be. Just watch the ODI and 20-20 to see some fresh blood. My own thoughts about this rivalry; if the Indian selectors can focus on the sport of cricket, they can very well put together a team that can take on the oz's in a rivalry.

  • sgvparel on January 21, 2008, 1:01 GMT

    Aus vs Ind indeed is the best Test matchup currently. No other series comes close. End surprised everyone to win the Ashes, but failed miserably, let alone live up to all the hype about a challenge to the Aussies. They just took Eng to the cleaners! Ind vs Pak series is no more of just another series which was once thought to be the biggest for either teams. Although Ind is inferior to Aus in many ways, it is good to see them fight well. Indian pacemen did one thing well in this match and most of this series. Their line/length and consistency was much better and in WACA they just kept bowling tight. With the swing this I believe is what got them the success. And about Tait, do not forget how Lee used to be "tonked" around when he started playing. He later concentrated on accuracy and less on pace and is now the best bowler in their side and fastest. Look on to see Tait doing the same in the future and batsmen will have some worries facing two seriously fast men.

  • friedmaggi on January 21, 2008, 0:15 GMT

    Indians have cracked the nut at last.Everything happend makes the adelaide test more and more mouth-watering.There is underlying joy of a cricket lover in the way Mr.Chappell writes.He cant stand when even an australian under performs.That's a true cricket lover for you.I think Hayden's presence would surely have prevented early breakthroughs of Pathan at the top of the order.Australia are still vulnerable to swing which has been proved time and again.My beguiled regards to Pathan and Ishant.What a treat it was to watch an Indian teenager trouble Ponting who I think is now only second to God at batting in Australia.And the Indo-Aussie rivalry has just been a celebration of test cricket for a significant time.Thanks to the players. Half of that Australian team is worn out and "the Indian batting legends" are on their way.Same tempo will run no matter? Its a big question.Cant wait to watch the Adelaide test right from pre-match analysis.Long live Indo-Aussie tog-of-war.

  • Alexk400 on January 20, 2008, 21:53 GMT

    Bengalis may not like chappelles , but think chappells are honest and more neutral. For me though key to india win is Sehwag sehwag...He is the only one that scare aussies. Because of his unpredictability and go for broke , no plan will work against him. Until he gets out aussies can't implement their plan. Next week aussies can beat india if india play harbhajan singh. Then dravid has to open. If sehwag out so quickly , it will be melbourne again. it is well documented fact that indian great batting line up is a bust when under pressure. So i hope india do not bring bhajji and bring in dinesh karthik to open. My prediction is india will lose if dravid opens again.

    It was a good rivalry and after sachin.ganguly, dravid out , india do not have Test quality batsman...it will become a go for broke club side.

  • vpadmana on January 20, 2008, 18:46 GMT

    With all due respect to Flintoff and Vaughn and the handful of remaining England cricket fans, the Ashes is sooooooooo yesterday. The Border-Gavaskar Trophy (needs a new catchy name in my opinion) is the new Ashes'05. It's been tooth and nail in every series and far more consistently entertaining (unlike a 0-5 drubbing) and filled with great individual human stories (not counting the umpires who are oblivious to the fact that the public is paying to watch the players compete and not them make bone-headed decisions). Now, India will have to figure out who's gonna fill the canyon-sized hole when Dravid, Tendulkar, Ganguly and Kumble call it a day (and it could all happen on the same day).

  • varangarajan on January 20, 2008, 17:39 GMT

    Ian chappell is perhaps the only cricketer turned commentator and writer whose love for and understanding of this beautiful game and it's fascinating participants transcends any parochial impulse which is in oversupply no matter where you look. His common sense and fairness no matter which teams are playing are like life saving oxygen when nearly every single commentator on TV is either telling us what we can already see, or expanding on a cliche.

    On the last day of the Perth test when Clarke and Johnson launched a blistering counter attack that briefly sent the Indian hearts racing, his comments about the Indian field placing and bowling showed a rare honesty and insight about tactics and captaincy. Earlier on the same day, I heard Harsha Bhogle, normally intelligent and articulate, call him a contrarian. Sorry Harsha, Ian Chappell has the keenest sense of fairness and perhaps the best cricketing mind in the media today.

  • Parth_Pala on January 20, 2008, 17:03 GMT

    I don't agree with people saying India need to strengthen their bowling. It is our bowling which has been able to dominate outside of India. No one can swing it like the Indians do today in world cricket. The facts shows India has won more matches abroad in recent times, when compared to all sides except the Australians. The reason for this is our bowling. But the critics needs to remember this is a young side, which will only get stronger. Their pace and ability to swing the ball both ways will only get better with time. Having said that unlike everyone else it is only India which can take on the Australians. So personally I don't think opinions of pundits from other countries have any bearing. Sort out your own country before advising mine.

  • SearingYorker on January 20, 2008, 16:32 GMT

    Let's all forget what happened in Sydney, for none of us would be able to change it.

    It's time to rejoice the fact that there are at least two teams we can look up to, to keep Test cricket alive and well. It seems that Australia have started enjoying playing in India and - this would have been unheard of a few years back - India has started enjoying playing at some of the paciest, greenest and exciting venues across the world. Consider where India has won during this decade - Headingley, Nottingham, Johannesburg, Kingston, Perth, Adelaide. These are the teams that can rightfully be termed the two foremost in the world at the moment. Both have an excellent pace attack and capable spinners. The reason Australia still remains the best team by a stretch is that they're fitter, their batsmen are more attacking and they have a professional board to back them. Perhaps with the advent of youth like Ishant and Rohit Sharma, RP Singh, Robin Uthappa and Pathan, the situation can only get better

  • krisALLXI on January 20, 2008, 16:20 GMT

    Yes, India's win at WACA was a first....but it was largely achieved by ability of the bowlers to eek out 20 Oz wickets. historically speaking, India have been able to outperform Oz based on their batting ability...for this rivalry to continue, India would have to struggle hard..'cos where do they spring out young talents to match the likes of Rahul, VVS (Major contributors), Sachin, whose careers cannot prolong forever!! For that to happen the pitches back home should be sporting ones like those laid at Sydney and Perth. And then, we can hope to sit back and enjoy a cracking rivalry in what I would call 'Post Big- 3(or 5) era of Indian Cricket'.

  • Intellectual on January 20, 2008, 15:50 GMT

    Australia is still the no.1 team but not the same without McGrath and Warne. India were lucky not to face Warne and McGrath in both the series or else definitely the result would have been different. As for Perth it wasn't that bouncy and Hayden was injured which made a huge difference.

    The next series will be a real test because by then the new Australian team will have matured and India will also have some new faces with the likes of Tendulkar, Dravid, Laxman and Ganguly out.

    I think india should seriously think about their future because the above four and Kumble are going to retire within the space of a year and India will really collapse at that time. From this series in Australia we have seen that India's younger players like dhoni, yuvraj and jaffer are not as good as they are hyped and with experienced players gone India will be no good

  • Aditya_mookerjee on January 20, 2008, 14:36 GMT

    I agree with Mr Chappell, that India Vs Australia, is the premier match up, followed by South Africa Vs Australia/India. South Africa are tough physically, and have players like the Morkel brothers. Hopefully, the South African team will grow in mental focus, to compete with its two illustrious peers. Pakistan is a very good team, but they can play without emotion, sometimes. Sri Lanka are an interesting team to watch, as are also Bangladesh. Zimbabwe has to pull up its socks. New Zealand are a decent team.

  • Kulaputra on January 20, 2008, 14:23 GMT

    It is indeed beginning of a great rivalry. India Pakistan matches seem to have lost sting with both Indians and Pakistanis eager to please each other by losing. The last ashes was not good for any rivalry as the Aussies steamrolled over the English. South Africa has acquired chokers tag and do not seem capable of rivalry other than with Zimbabwe. New Zeland is rediscovering itself now. West Indies and the others can rightly be classified as minnows. Good thinking Mr. Chappel - as always. Cricket needs a rivalry and Australia - India is perhaps the answer. However, if Sydney is an instance of manifestation of rivalry, then one can pray Gods.

  • NormalHuman on January 20, 2008, 13:44 GMT

    The Perth test match was a great spectacle of cricketing skills.As Ian mentioned, the rivalry is here 2 stay. However,the main thing from now on is,can India carry on their form into Adelaide and deliver.With hindsight,after winning the 1st test in South Africa they eventually lost the nxt one,in the series played against England which India successfully won,1-0,India had only won just one match out of three,& there was a similar scenario against the recently concluded pak-india series in India.Therefore,I suspect,a draw in Adelaide is most probable result,unless India plays out of their skins which on Australian soil is a very tall order.

  • cricsans on January 20, 2008, 12:38 GMT

    "Under Ricky Ponting, Australia broke their hoodoo and won a series in India for the first time in 35 years."

    Wasn't it under Gilchrist? When Ponting took over, Aus lost the final Test.

  • Classyprash on January 20, 2008, 12:24 GMT

    Chappell also made a good point about Shaun Tait's mouth doing the talking rather than his bowling.Test cricket is certainly a far cry from twenty20, which is more about power and speed while test cricket is about endurance, character, temperament, and most importantly skill.

  • racosin on January 20, 2008, 12:17 GMT

    a point to note is that it was under adam gilchrist that australia beat india in india! and not ricky ponting!

  • The_other_side on January 20, 2008, 10:58 GMT

    Ian Chappell does have a point here. However timelines can be extended a few years back. 1978 tour was a closely fought one. In 1980-81 India did wonders at Melbourne and Sandip Patil played a blinder at Adelaide. 1984-85 saw India win the B&H cup under Sunny Gavaskar and 1985-86 series was drawn with SM Gavaskar achieving centuries in all major test centres in Australia. Despite losses in 1991 and 1999-2000 both series included memorable performances from Kapil Dev and Tendulkar, not to forget Laxman at Sydney (2000). Similarly Australia in India, played a memorable Tie test with Dean Jones as batting hero, and managed to win a test in 1997, 2000-01 and in 2003 won the series with M Clark and D Martyn as batting heroes.

    The fact is this rivalry between two very proud and hence passionate cricketing nations has always been a great to see encounters and though Waugh spoke about final frontier few years back, as one can see new frontiers bieng set every time these two play

  • hasanjammy on January 20, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    first of all congratulaton to anil kumble for leading the side so magnificently. second congrats to whole team india. no hundred no 5 wicket haul yet they won it against invincibles to end their dream run of 16 test which the visitors have done already in kolkata 6 years back. the test will be remembered for long for the bowling of ishant sharma who let the ponting struuggle for one hour. ponting has not looked troubled against anybowler of the world but ishant has troubled the best batsman of australia after bradman. kudos to man of match pathan and also to rp singh.

  • Magarmuch on January 20, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    Good article by Ian, as always. Someone who talks from a neutral point of view. And he is spot on with the fact that India-Australia is the rivalry of the next generation of cricket. Both in tests, and also in T20 (Australia have yet to beat India in this new format). Test cricket is lacking these mini-rivalries ever since the Aussies started dominating test cricket. However, now with a challenger to their throne, things are going to get juicier.

  • DineshIyer on January 20, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    I would tend to agree with you because other than the 2005 Ashes, no other test series has generated excitement and to be quite honest no test team has pushed Australia at home or away. The Ashes always have tradition but a 5-0 washout doesnt speak well. SA vs. AUS used to be good but SA havent been able to achieve the dominance associated with the teams of the 1990's. India-Pak test matches have become boring because of: horrible pitches on which they are played, fear of losing which doesnt allow teams to take risks to push for victories. Many test teams such as NZ, WI, B'DESH dont have any big name or exciting players which would cause the world to sit up and take notice. Australia is definitely the superior team but India always match to push them close! Hope the rivalry continues to give us more great matches and no more unpleasantness!

  • Amit312 on January 20, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    As always, Mr Chappell has been great with his analysis. As one of the comment notes that VVS was not mentioned, my understanding of Mr. C's aarticle is that it brings out the rivalry among the teams. Individual duals are just a subset but what this series has shown that the India as a team and not as its history would suggest -individuals has given birth to this rivalry. Ganguly was the person who developed this attitude, Rahul and Kumble have embraced it. And then one gets to enjoy individual battles - Ponting v/s Bhajji / Ishant. Sachin v/s Lee. Hayden V/S the seamers etc. Hope the Adelaide test lives about the expectations

  • indianpunter on January 20, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    The perth test is exactly the shot in the arm that test cricket so badly needed.Now other teams will also believe that Australia can be beaten in their own backyard.They do not have shane warne anymore and stuart clark is no McGrath yet. In the recent past, mistakes by the Australian team used to go unnoticed because of their overall superiority,whereas now it has come back to bite them.2 striking examples frm the Perth test are 1.symonds and clarke giving away easy runs to laxman and Dhoni and 2.Not picking Brad Hogg.Australia are still the worlds best team, by a long way and credit to them for establishing the benchmarks.long live, test cricket !!

  • MostCulturedAussieSirLesPatterson on January 20, 2008, 8:24 GMT

    India's ability to bowl a team out twice is still suspect - an area they need to strengthen to compete on equal terms with Australia every time. If the roles were reversed, Australia would have won by a bigger margin. The series should really have read 2-1 to India at this stage - Australia did not win the Sydney test - India lost it to the umpires!

  • vijaytriambak on January 20, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    Deb_Teb,

    I thought about Simon Jones! Indian went on to Win England where England team played with their second rug bowling attack where Flintoff injured, Hoggard not available, Simon Jones as usual injured...

    The present Indian team bowlers need to show consistency in getting the oppoents out in sporting wickets - just as their batsmen have shown their consistency in fumbling against good bowling attack!

  • sid_red on January 20, 2008, 4:42 GMT

    Yep. And it has been for a while! India-Pak comes a close second, purely because of the political aspects and the nationalistic feelings the bout brings about. But, over the last few years, this rivalry has cooled off a bit as evidenced by the India-Pak series in 2007.

  • mumbaiguy79 on January 20, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    Good write Chappelli!

    As you talk about the Ashes 2005 (and the swinging ball which swung the Ashes England's way) one wonders whether this Australian team is susceptible to a swinging ball. Although, it is still intersting to note that when asked by Harsha Bhogle about it, Ponting brushed off this 'weakness' after the Perth match. Speaks to the Aussie arrogance doesn't it? More so the lack of Simon Jones in the 2006-07 Ashes series highlights the obvious chink in Aussie armory.

  • baba6660 on January 20, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    Surprised not to find any mention of Laxman in this article. I think he is the highest scorer against Australia (over 1000 Runs in Australia @ an average of over 60) and has played key role in all important wins including the recent one at Perth.It is players like him that have consistently ensured India's excellence and resurgence against Australia. Regards Baba K R

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  • baba6660 on January 20, 2008, 4:32 GMT

    Surprised not to find any mention of Laxman in this article. I think he is the highest scorer against Australia (over 1000 Runs in Australia @ an average of over 60) and has played key role in all important wins including the recent one at Perth.It is players like him that have consistently ensured India's excellence and resurgence against Australia. Regards Baba K R

  • mumbaiguy79 on January 20, 2008, 4:34 GMT

    Good write Chappelli!

    As you talk about the Ashes 2005 (and the swinging ball which swung the Ashes England's way) one wonders whether this Australian team is susceptible to a swinging ball. Although, it is still intersting to note that when asked by Harsha Bhogle about it, Ponting brushed off this 'weakness' after the Perth match. Speaks to the Aussie arrogance doesn't it? More so the lack of Simon Jones in the 2006-07 Ashes series highlights the obvious chink in Aussie armory.

  • sid_red on January 20, 2008, 4:42 GMT

    Yep. And it has been for a while! India-Pak comes a close second, purely because of the political aspects and the nationalistic feelings the bout brings about. But, over the last few years, this rivalry has cooled off a bit as evidenced by the India-Pak series in 2007.

  • vijaytriambak on January 20, 2008, 7:38 GMT

    Deb_Teb,

    I thought about Simon Jones! Indian went on to Win England where England team played with their second rug bowling attack where Flintoff injured, Hoggard not available, Simon Jones as usual injured...

    The present Indian team bowlers need to show consistency in getting the oppoents out in sporting wickets - just as their batsmen have shown their consistency in fumbling against good bowling attack!

  • MostCulturedAussieSirLesPatterson on January 20, 2008, 8:24 GMT

    India's ability to bowl a team out twice is still suspect - an area they need to strengthen to compete on equal terms with Australia every time. If the roles were reversed, Australia would have won by a bigger margin. The series should really have read 2-1 to India at this stage - Australia did not win the Sydney test - India lost it to the umpires!

  • indianpunter on January 20, 2008, 8:49 GMT

    The perth test is exactly the shot in the arm that test cricket so badly needed.Now other teams will also believe that Australia can be beaten in their own backyard.They do not have shane warne anymore and stuart clark is no McGrath yet. In the recent past, mistakes by the Australian team used to go unnoticed because of their overall superiority,whereas now it has come back to bite them.2 striking examples frm the Perth test are 1.symonds and clarke giving away easy runs to laxman and Dhoni and 2.Not picking Brad Hogg.Australia are still the worlds best team, by a long way and credit to them for establishing the benchmarks.long live, test cricket !!

  • Amit312 on January 20, 2008, 9:52 GMT

    As always, Mr Chappell has been great with his analysis. As one of the comment notes that VVS was not mentioned, my understanding of Mr. C's aarticle is that it brings out the rivalry among the teams. Individual duals are just a subset but what this series has shown that the India as a team and not as its history would suggest -individuals has given birth to this rivalry. Ganguly was the person who developed this attitude, Rahul and Kumble have embraced it. And then one gets to enjoy individual battles - Ponting v/s Bhajji / Ishant. Sachin v/s Lee. Hayden V/S the seamers etc. Hope the Adelaide test lives about the expectations

  • DineshIyer on January 20, 2008, 10:02 GMT

    I would tend to agree with you because other than the 2005 Ashes, no other test series has generated excitement and to be quite honest no test team has pushed Australia at home or away. The Ashes always have tradition but a 5-0 washout doesnt speak well. SA vs. AUS used to be good but SA havent been able to achieve the dominance associated with the teams of the 1990's. India-Pak test matches have become boring because of: horrible pitches on which they are played, fear of losing which doesnt allow teams to take risks to push for victories. Many test teams such as NZ, WI, B'DESH dont have any big name or exciting players which would cause the world to sit up and take notice. Australia is definitely the superior team but India always match to push them close! Hope the rivalry continues to give us more great matches and no more unpleasantness!

  • Magarmuch on January 20, 2008, 10:11 GMT

    Good article by Ian, as always. Someone who talks from a neutral point of view. And he is spot on with the fact that India-Australia is the rivalry of the next generation of cricket. Both in tests, and also in T20 (Australia have yet to beat India in this new format). Test cricket is lacking these mini-rivalries ever since the Aussies started dominating test cricket. However, now with a challenger to their throne, things are going to get juicier.

  • hasanjammy on January 20, 2008, 10:13 GMT

    first of all congratulaton to anil kumble for leading the side so magnificently. second congrats to whole team india. no hundred no 5 wicket haul yet they won it against invincibles to end their dream run of 16 test which the visitors have done already in kolkata 6 years back. the test will be remembered for long for the bowling of ishant sharma who let the ponting struuggle for one hour. ponting has not looked troubled against anybowler of the world but ishant has troubled the best batsman of australia after bradman. kudos to man of match pathan and also to rp singh.