Despite having been obliterated for a mere 36 in the second innings of the first Test which eventually saw them lose the game by eight wickets, Team India sans Virat Kohli (paternity leave) and Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma (injured) came roaring back as they won the next Test at the MCG by the same margin.
Skipper Ajinkya Rahane’s superb ton, Ravindra Jadeja’s all-round display, and brilliant seam bowling by debutant Siraj and champion Bumrah paved way for the turnaround even as the visitors lost another player in Umesh Yadav due to injury.
Injuries galore for Team India in the final two Tests in Sydney and Brisbane but brilliant performances by Shubman Gill, Rishabh Pant- who played consecutive game-impacting 4th innings knocks- Mohammed Siraj, Hanuma Vihari, R. Ashwin, Pujara and newbies like Washington Sundar and Shardul Thakur ensured that India did the unthinkable as they became the first team to beat Australia at the Gabba.
Heaping high praise on Team India and especially Rishabh Pant, Sourav Ganguly termed the performances as incredible and full of character besides adding that he was in constant touch with the team at the time.
“I back the players, personally speak to them, listen to them. When they were in Australia, I would speak to the captain during every Test match. The results are because of the players. What Rishabh Pant did on the last day in Brisbane was incredible. He showed guts and character,” Sourav Ganguly told Sportstar.
“The players relate to me because I have also played the game. Why can’t I speak to them? It is my job. I am supposed to speak to my players. We don’t hassle them. We are there to support them,” he added.
Sourav Ganguly was the captain of the Indian team when it drew the series in Australia in 2003/04. The former captain, however, refused to compare the two eras, stating that the ongoing phase is superb.
”These are two different generations. This is a superb phase. Beating Australia in Australia was a tremendous achievement. We drew with Australia in Australia, beat England in England and Pakistan in Pakistan,” Ganguly added.
“We won in New Zealand, too. It was a glorious phase. This team is doing so well. I leave it at that. What happened in 2003 can’t be compared with in 2021. I was involved both times – captain and now the BCCI president.” he added.