What a breath of fresh air India has given the game after standing up against mighty Australia in their own backyard. We all knew what Tendulkar, Ganguly, Dravid & Co were capable of in the sub-continent, but to reproduce their home form on the bouncier wickets of Australia was fantastic for them and the game. They have been breathtaking to watch at times and cricket owes them a debt of gratitude.
The Indians have also shown that when a country loses its best two bowlers as Australia had in Glen McGrath and Shane Warne, then it can be made to look as fallible as anybody else. Sehwag played a couple of great knocks at the top of the order and Ganguly, Laxman and particularly Dravid have been unbelievable. It wasn’t until late in the Tour that the little magician Tendulkar came to the party and then he hit a magnificent and unbeaten double hundred to put Australia under immense pressure.
The Aussies, captained for the last time by Steve Waugh, must have felt as if they had won the last Test rather than drawing it, but it was a superb series. I can’t let Waugh slip into retirement without paying a personal tribute. He was the ultimate batting warrior and not even India would have begrudged him another 20 runs on his farewell so that he could bow out with yet another century. Waugh’s captaincy has been made easier by the calibre of players at his disposal, but he never gave an inch to any opponent during a truly remarkable 15 years at the top.
My best wishes got to Steve… and also my thanks to India for having the guts to take the game to their hosts and provide a marvellous spectacle at the same time.