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It was the result all cricket fans dreaded as the fourth and final Test match between India and Australia concluded in a stalemate. The day started with Australia losing Matthew Kuhnemann to Ravichandran Ashwin in the opening hour. However, Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne extinguished India’s hopes of an unlikely victory.
Head, who compiled a dogged half-century, was looking well set for a hundred before Axar Patel dismissed the southpaw to claim his 50th Test wicket for India. Labuschangne held firm from the other end as both skippers eventually shook hands to call it a day in the fourth and final Test match of the series.
Here are the talking points from the 4th Test:
Travis Head and Marnus Labuschagne stand tall for the Aussies
An early wicket on the fifth day excited the Indian bowlers as they started plotting the downfall of the Aussies to set up a frantic finale. However, the pair of Labuschagne and Head threw a spanner in their plans with a resurgent 139-run stand for the second wicket. Both batters registered their respective half-centuries to end the series on a high.
Record breaking Axar
Axar Patel, the batter, had a phenomenal series for the home side. Even though the tall all-rounder failed to impress with the ball in the four-match series, the wicket of Travis Head on the fifth day of the Ahmedabad Test granted him a 50th Test scalp. He becomes the fastest Indian to the milestone, toppling Jaspirt Bumrah’s previous record.
The quest for glory
While Team India were hoping for an Australian batting collapse on the fifth day to seal their WTC final spot, they received a helping hand from the Kiwis, who scripted a tremendous heist to beat Sri Lanka in a thrilling first Test match in Christchurch. New Zealand’s victory guaranteed India’s place in the WTC final, where they will meet the Aussie for the ultimate prize in the longest format of the game.
Australian skipper Steve Smith said –
Did end slowly. Was a pretty flat at the back end. The boys had a great time. The hospitality has been amazing. The crowd has been amazing. We started to play better as the series went on. The madness in one hour in Delhi cost us that game. The wicket here was too flat for us to force a result. The spinners bowled really well. Murphy and Kuhnemann bowled with composure. Lyon bowled his best in the first innings here, the best I have seen him bowl.
Indian skipper Rohit Sharma said –
Was a fantastic series. Right from the word go, how exciting it was. Lot of the players are playing this for the first time. We do understand the importance of this series and the opposition. Lot of hard work has gone into this. At different times we have come up with answers. We knew how important it was to start the series well. The Delhi Test, I am very proud of. We were behind in the game. At Indore, we were put under pressure and lost the game. Different players put their hands up. Lot of guys took up the responsibility and bailed us out. I am quite satisfied. I know what kind of benchmark I have set for myself. I keep the personal milestones aside. We have got the result from what I wanted from the series. To get the result makes us very happy.
Player of the Match Virat Kohli said –
To be honest, the expectations I have from myself as a player is more to important to me. I felt I was batting well from the first innings at Nagpur. We focused on batting for long. I did that to an extent but not to the capability that I have done in the past. Was a little disappointed for that. Relief from the point of view that I could play the way I wanted to play. I was happy with my defence. I am not in a space now where I will go out and prove someone wrong. I also need to justify why I am there on the field. When I was 60 not out, we decided to play positively. But we lost Shreyas to injury and were a batter short. So, we decided to play time. They were good with the ball and placed some good fields. We got a bit of a lead and gave ourselves some sort of a chance.
Players of the Series Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin said –
Ravindra Jadeja: It feels good bowling with him. He (Ashwin) is passing on information. What field to have, how to bowl to a particular batsman. I am not too happy with my batting in this series. I missed out on a few occasions especially in this Test. I will work harder and focus on my batting. He is more of everything. He has a good cricketing brain. He knows every team in the world and every series that is being played.
Ravichandran Ashwin: It has been a great journey. We (himself and Jadeja) started a long time ago but we wouldn’t be the same or lethal enough without the other. We need to recognise that, at least I have started recognising that over the last 2-3 years. He gives me a lot of freedom to be creative with the ball, credit to him, I thought he bowled beautifully in the Delhi Test as well and that’s why we are here today. Jaddu keeps it really simple, he does not fret around or bother about what has happened, but I saw him sit in one place for an hour after he got out, so that told me how disappointed he was and that came out today.
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