On this day: the story of a historical counterattack from India at the Gabba

Do you remember that on this day in 2021, Australia became the victim of the historical counterattack by India at the Gabba?

Undoubtedly, India is such a strong cricketing nation but beating Australia in Australia after getting all out at just 36 in the same series is not a piece of cake. Three years ago on this day, India at the Gabba registered a historic win over Australia. After being trailed by 1-0, India won the Border Gavaskar trophy for the third consecutive time. In this article, we will relive those moments of the Gabba test when young guns like Rishabh Pant, Shubhman Gill, Mohammad Siraj, and test maestro Cheteswar Pujara overpowered the Australian star-studded team. 

India tour of Australia 2020-21 was a Historic and memorable tour and the Border Gavaskar trophy of that tour was one of the greatest BGT series ever. From getting out on 36 and big players getting injured or leaving the side to India clinching the trophy with inexperienced youngsters. In the first test out of four India lost by eight wickets after getting their lowest total in test history in the second inning. After the first test Indian captain Virat Kohli had to come back to India for some personal reason, which disturbed the Indian batting order. He was one of the greatest test captains for India. In Virat Kohli’s absence, Ajinkya Rahane was appointed as captain of the team. Rishabh Pant was back in the team after the first test and India somehow managed to win the second test by eight wickets with the help of Ajinjya Rahane’s Century and Jaspreet Bumrah, Ravichandran Aswin’s spells.

In the third test experienced opener Mayank Agrawal got injured and Rohit Sharma who wasn’t a consistent test batter at that time had to replace him, India was about to lose while chasing 407 runs in the final inning when Rishabh Pant(97), and Cheteswar Pujara(77) took charge to save the match for the nation, but Ravichandran Aswin(39) and Hanuma Vihari(23) were the real saviors of that game. Both batted very well and faced Australian lethal bowling while being injured, Hanuma Vihari was barely able to run in that inning. After India somehow managed to draw the third test India took a breath of relief but there was another test and with Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Aswin heroes who stood between India and loss in the last game Star bowler Jaspreet Bumraah also got injured just before the final game. After all this, the final test was in Australia’s winning Fort Gabba where Australia never lost any test, The Indians had in their mind that if we somehow got this test drawn then we would be saved from defeat. 


The Gabba Test

On this day: the story of a historical counterattack from India at the Gabba
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The game starts on 15th January 2021, India was already in the backfoot even before the first ball was bowled and the toss also fell in the favour of Australia, Tim Paine decided to bat in the first inning. Mohammad Siraj strikes in the first over and dismissed Dangerous David Warner at one. Shardul Thakur picked Marcus Harris in the ninth over and gave the second blow at a total of 17. After two early wickets, Marnus Labushane decided to not give the Indians an easy chance to celebrate so first he added 70 runs with Steven Smith and then 113 with Mathew Wade. T Natrajan dismissed Mranus Labuhane at a total of 213 but before leaving the field he had done enough damage, he scored a brilliant century of  108 runs in 204 balls with nine boundaries. After Marnus’s classical test batting Australian skipper Tim Paine(50) and young all-rounder Cameron Green(47) contributed some important runs in the total of 369 runs. T Natrajan, Shardul Thakur, and Washington Sunder were the Indian bowlers with three wickets each who stopped Australia from reaching 400.

When India came to bat on the second day Australians attacked Indian batters with full aggression and they got the early blow of in-form Shubman Gill at a total of 11, Rohit Sharma added 44 runs to the scoreboard and was dismissed by Nathan Lyon at 60. Except for the 113-run partnership built by all-rounders Washington Sunder(62) and Shardul Thakur(67) Australians didn’t allow any two batters to stay on the crease for 100 runs.  India got summed up at just 336 runs on the third day by Josh Hazlewood(5-57) and trailed by 33 runs. Australia didn’t lose any wicket at the stumps of the third day and added 21 runs more in the lead. On the fourth day, India got on the backfoot after both Australian openers added 89 runs for the second wickets, but after David Warner(48) only Steven Smith(55) was able to hold the crease for another 40+ runs.

Australia kept losing wickets in the time intervals and Mohammad Siraj with the other Bowlers didn’t let Australians reach even 300 this time and ended their innings at 294 just before the stumps and started the chase. The target(328) was not unachievable but chasing more than 300 on the final day is also not the regular chase. 

The Final Day

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Continuing the chase on the final day ahead of just four runs India lost the senior and promising batter throughout the series Rohit Sharma at just 18. Losing a senior batter while chasing 328 and still 310 runs more to go was not a positive incident, but coming on one down classical test batter Cheteswar Pujara became the headache for Australia, first, he added 114 runs with Shubhman Gill (91) and then 35 runs with skipper Ajinkya Rahane(24). He batted for 314 minutes which was the highest in that game and a strike rate of just 26.54. Pujara scored 56 runs in 211 balls with seven boundaries, somehow Australians just got rid of Pujara, but Rishabh Pant took charge of destroying the Australian fort.

India was losing continuous wickets from one end but on the other side, Rishabh Pant was not only holding the Indian nerves but smashing Australian bowlers from time to time. Surely India was getting closer to the target but losing wickets and lack of overs were pressurizing Indian batters especially Rishabh Pant who kept holding the wicket with responsibility from one side and hitting boundaries in between so that if there would be any chance at the end he could score quick runs and make India win. 

The game was getting more thrilling, on the one hand, overs were losing and on the other hand, India was losing wickets but at the same time, Indian fans’ hope was connected with young Rishabh Pant who was smashing Australian bowlers fearlessly. When India lost their seventh wicket in the form of Shardul Thakur only 20 balls were left in the day but India was just three runs short of the target, everyone knew this was the chance to carry out a historical counterattack but Rishabh who was aware of this chance more than anyone present in the ground had it. Rishabh drives Hzelwood’s ball to the long on for four and then that’s it. India has registered the biggest setback in test cricket history.

Rishabh Pant was considered as man of the match for his match-winning inning. Cheteswar Pujara and Mohammad Siraj deserve the same as Rishabh Pant because of their contribution in all four days of play but as we know it is all about who stands until the win and carries forward every fan’s hope and the pressure of it.