By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Jan 10, 2015
Australia clinched the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2014-15 2-0 after India managed to hold on to a draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). On a crumbling track on Day Five, Australia declared leaving India with 349 with the full quota of 90 overs to go. Murali Vijay sparkled with an innings of 80 and kept India under control. His innings was a mixture of caution and aggression. There were phases when he was defensive and then all of a sudden, he would take on Nathan Lyon. In one of the overs, he took him apart for 16 runs.
At the other end, KL Rahul had a decent innings until Lyon dismissed him caught at leg-slip. Rohit Sharma huffed and puffed, with numerous nervous moments through his innings of 39, and was ultimately dismissed when Steven Smith pulled off a blinder at first slip. Virat Kohli got in during his innings of 46 and played with his usual fluency. Vijay was dismissed post tea on 80 when he edged to the wicketkeeper. Soon after, Kohli fell when he edged to slip.
That opened the door for Australia. Suresh Raina finished a forgettable Test match by completing a pair as Mitchell Starc trapped him leg-before. Wriddhiman Saha then played back at one that kept low from Lyon and was trapped leg-before. Ravichandran Ashwin and Ajinkya Rahane had to then battle out around 19 overs. Ashwin was dismissed after battling out 22 balls, but Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s calming influence complemented Rahane and they saw through the day without problems to ensure a draw.
It was quite an end to a Test match that seemed to be heading for a draw. Australia piled 572 for seven declared. David Warner smashed an entertaining century and it was quite en emotional moment for him. Being the first Test at the SCG after Phil Hughes’ death, Warner smashed the ton in memory of his mate. He even kissed the ground when he reached an unbeaten 63. Chris Rogers scored his sixth consecutive 50, smashing 95 this time. The opening stand of 200 had set things up.
Steven Smith and Shane Watson then went on to construct a huge partnership. While Smith went on to get his ton, Watson failed to convert his 81 into a three-figure score. Australia then went on to get 572 with the lower order contributing. They declared on the second evening.
India lost Murali Vijay in the first over, but were then guided by Rahul and Rohit, who managed to score 53. Rahul went on to get his maiden century and made-up for that failure in Melbourne with this calm century. Kohli’s rich vein of form continued as he smashed 147. The tail wagged a little and took India within 97 runs of the Australian total.
On the fourth day, Australia were involved in a good battle with Ashwin, who went on to take four wickets for 105 runs in his 19 overs. Scoring at a rate better than a run-a-ball, Australia sped away to 251 for six at the end of day’s play and declared overnight. India had to chase 349 on a tough pitch.
This match marked significant milestones for the captains of both sides. Smith went on to record more than 700 runs in the series and went on to beat Don Bradman’s record for the most runs in the series for an Australian against India. Kohli became the second Indian to record four tons in a series and also recorded the most runs by an Indian in a Test series against Australia, beating Rahul Dravid’s record. They have clearly established themselves as the best young batsmen in the world.
Australia 572 for 7 decl. (Chris Rogers 95, David Warner 101, Steven Smith 117, Shane Watson 81; Shaun Marsh 73, Joe Burns 58; Mohammed Shami 5 for 112) and 251 for 6 decl. (Chris Rogers 56, Steven Smith 71, Joe Burns 66; Ravichandran Ashwin 4 for 105) drew India 475 (KL Rahul 110, Rohit Sharma 53, Virat Kohli 147, Ravichandran Ashwin 50; Mitchell Starc 3 for 106, Ryan Harris 2 for 96, Nathan Lyon 2 for 123, Shane Watson 2 for 58) and 252 for 7 (Murali Vijay 80, Virat Kohli 46; Mitchell Starc 2 for 36, Nathan Lyon 2 for 110, Josh Hazlewood 2 for 31).
Man of the Match: Steven Smith.
Man of the Series: Steven Smith.