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Operation Debutants And The Inaugural World Test Championship Final

Not many would have bet on the Men in Blue after the humiliating rout they suffered in the first Test at Adelaide (Dec 17-19, 2020), scoring 36, their lowest total ever. Even on the final day of the last Test at the Gabba (Jan 15-19, 2021), they were given 1% chance. India ended Australia’s 33-year dominance at the Gabbatoir with Shubhman Gill hitting a mesmerising 91 and Rishabh Pant an audacious 89 to chase down the target of 328 with 18 balls left in the match. Wisden Cricket’s Editor-In-Chief Phil Walker notes: “Seasoned and sober judges are saying it’s perhaps the finest series win away from home by any side ever.” Cricket analyst Robert Craddock wrote in the Daily Telegraph: “Australia got their best squad to throw their best punch – and they got knocked cold.” The incredible turnaround story for the team (that lost all four tosses, their power-hitting captain, and several frontline players through injury) was scripted by the fiery energy of the debutants and the steely spine of the young guns batting at lower order. The same debutant spirit was unleashed after the thrashing England inflicted in the first Test at Chennai. India managed to defend its fortress, securing 13th consecutive Test Series win. The 3-1 series victory over England seals India’s berth in the inaugural World Test Championship (WTC) final, where they will face New Zealand, the team of “scrappers that scraps for win.” Hopefully, India will soon find answers – as Saurav Ganguly (president of the BCCI) and Rahul Dravid (in charge of the National Cricket Academy, Bengaluru) sharpen focus on training young talents like Mohammed Siraj, Washington Sundar, and Shubman Gill, among others.