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Columns - The Shaz Effect

Aussies, a gift in the mouth for the oppositions?

By Ravi Shastri
Thursday, October 14, 2021

As the world's number one Test team, India have looked the part. Without three of their key men, they still prevailed in Bangalore. Australia and Ricky Ponting are left licking their wounds. I suspect it will also have a cascading effect on India's One-day fortunes.

Australia will wonder for long why they can't finish off from a position of strength in India. Look at Eden Gardens and Chennai on the 2001 tour; or at Mohali and Bangalore in the present series. In all these Tests, they roared at the start but whimpered in the end.

Australia are now a gift in the mouth for their opponents, or so some might want to believe. This result will give fresh hope to England, lying in wait for the Ashes.

Australia have faltered in situations where teams usually flourish in India. If you win the toss and bat big first up, you have the keys of the game. Australia won the toss in Mohali and Bangalore and posted scores in excess of 400 runs. They also didn't have to bat last. Yet, they have been flattened.

For two of the game's biggest century-makers, the fortunes couldn't have been more contrasting. Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting are the big boys of the centurions' club. Yet one has been left devastated. Ponting got three scores in excess of 70 but no hundred. Tendulkar had a double century in Bangalore and an equally telling role in Mohali.

Ponting will now leave these shores with just one century in all these years — and not a single win as skipper.

India were equally good in bowling. They might have struggled initially but once the sun drew out the moisture and the pitch - as well as outfield -dried up, Zaheer Khan and company managed ample reverse swing.

No less heartening was the blossoming of Pragyan Ojha. Indeed, the young guns have brought cheer to Indian cricket. Murali Vijay can lay stake to the No. 3 slot in the future.

For good measure, Cheteshwara Pujara was no less keyed up to push his own candidature in the second innings. He batted like a man who has seen this stage before. His body language and the way he went about his job was brilliant.

Amidst all this, let's not forget to take a bow to VVS Laxman and Ishant Sharma without whom Mohali was long gone. It's now for the younger set to keep the grin wide in the One-dayers.

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