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An encore at Dharamsala

With Virat Kohli out of contention with a shoulder injury, Rahane held the team together and made a match of it despite losing the vital toss to Australia. Kuldeep Yadav took the place of captain Virat Kohli and played a pivotal role in dismissing the Aussie side for 300 after being 144 for one with both David Warner and Steve Smith going great guns. He claimed four wickets to have a memorable debut for India. Both the teams had equal share of success and a lead of 32 did not look handy for India. KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Wriddhiman Saha and Ravindra Jadeja all played sweet knocks to help the side cross the total of 300 without much difficulty. Australia had a shaky start with Warner, Renshaw, Smith and Marsh all got out for hasty shots and the end was in sight. Both Maxwell and Wade made a match of it and fighting to take the lead beyond 150 but Ashwin, Jadeja and Umesh all picked up three wickets each and a total of 137 made us to go for a paltry 106 runs target on the last day. With 19 knocked out on the third day against a listless pace attack it was matter of time we surpass the target and clinch the series and regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. Rahul played a gem of an innings and Rahane as captain gave him good company. Thus Australians lost a game that was in their pocket at Bengaluru and struggled at Ranchi and only finished as a loser in the end. Kangaroos were cornored in their own game and instead of persisting with three spinners the move to have two pace bowlers backfired. In the absence of Mitchel Starc the team lost a strike bowler in the middle of the series.

Team India played to a plan and applied pressure at the right time and finished the series as winners. The action on the field was less as Virat Kohli was away from the field. Indian bowlers bowled with better line on alien wicket and fought every inch to achieve a facile win in the end. The encore at Dharamsala was a icing on the cake. Ravindra Jadeja was adjudged Man of the match and Man of the series as well with his heroics with both bat and ball.

(The views expressed by the author in the article are his/her own.)

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