71 years. 31 series. 98 Tests. 292 players, which includes some of the greatest names Asia has ever produced in Wasim Akram, Sachin Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Kumar Sangakkara, Rahul Dravid, Anil Kumble, Sourav Ganguly, who tried in vain to win an elusive Test series Down Under, but couldn't.
But, records and history are bound to be re-written, and on 7 January 2019, Virat Kohli and his side did just that by conquering one of the final frontiers of Indian cricket. India's win was spearheaded by a supreme pace-attacked that outbowled their Australian counterparts but nothing can be taken away from Cheteshwar Pujara's supreme batting effort that played a major part in blunting the Aussie attack.
Here's a look at all the numbers that led to India's win in the series:-
Pujara- the differentiator between two sides
Chetseshwar Pujara emerged from the shadows of Virat Kohli to produce a defiant performance that helped India win their first Test series Down Under since their first trip in 1947-48. He emerged as the leading run-scorer in the series with the next best being Rishabh Pant at 350. Numbers put Pujara's performance into perspective. The Indian No.3 faced 1254 balls for his 521 runs scoring three of the five hundred in the series.
While Pujara was sublime in negotiating the new Kookaburra ball, he was equally potent against Nathan Lyon. The Indian No.3 aggregated more than 100 runs against each of Starc, Hazlewood, and Lyon while Pat Cummins was the only bowler to put a lid on Pujara, conceding just 63 runs off 243 deliveries and accounting for him twice at Melbourne.
Pujara vs Australian bowlers
India's relentless attack outbowl their Aussie counterparts
Barring the first session at Perth, India's bowling group out balled their more famed Aussie counterparts with disdain. While it has to be said that the Indian bowlers did not have to bowl to the likes of Cheteshwar Pujara, who pummelled the Aussie bowlers into the dust through his grit and patience, it is still a massive achievement, given how previous Indian bowling groups have fared Down Under.
Jasprit Bumrah, with 21 wickets at an average of 17.00, led the bowling group, bamboozling the Aussie batsmen with his variations and subtle change of pace. It was He had able allies in Mohammad Shami, who bowled with a lot of heart and control, claiming 16 wickets at 26.18 while Ishant Sharma, too, had good returns [11 wickets at 23.81], a big step-up, considering he averaged 62.15 in his ten previous Tests Down Under.
Collectively, the Indian seamers claimed 50 wickets at an average of 23.54 an strike-rate of 52.0, while their Australian counterparts accounted for 40 scalps at an average of 32.27. Besides, being effective with the new ball, Indian bowlers were comparatively way ahead of the Australians when it came to using the old ball.
While the Indian quicks claimed 15 wickets at an average of 22, striking every 53 balls, the Australian seamers found it very difficult to generate any reverse-swing, accounting for only six wickets at an average of 46.
|Indian seamers||433.5||50||23.54||52.0, 2|
|Australian seamers||463.0||40||32.27||69.4, 1|
Nathan Lyon started the series well claiming two five-wicket hauls while also claiming the Player-of-the-Match award at Perth. But, as the series progressed, the workload of being the lone spinner in a four-man attack began to show its effect as his performance tapered off at the back-end. While he claimed sixteen wickets in the first two games, the next two matches saw him claim just five wickets.
While Lyon shouldered the bulk of the spinners workload- bowling 242.1 overs- while Indian spinners load was more equitably shared between Ashwin [86.5 overs], Ravinder Jadeja , Kuldeep Yadav [31.5] and Hanuma Vihari [35.0].
No hundreds from Australia underline their batting struggles
That Marcus Harris's 79 was Australia's highest score of the series- their lowest in a Test series in the past 100 years, underlined the nadir that Australian batting has hit in recent times. It is not that the Australian batsmen didn't get off to starts but it was their inability to grind and convert the start into a match-defining innings despite crossing 50 on eight occasions was a reflection of their wrecked mindset.
While their top-7 averaged 26.71 in the series, the Indian top-order averaged 40.17, converting five out of the 13 times they went past fifty into a three-digit score; three of them being scored by Chteshwar Pujara alone.