Cricket fans bemused as Australians crumble

By Neena Bhandari, IANS,

Sydney : As India trounced the once invincible Australia to stage a historic victory in Mohali, cricket fans here were bemused to see their heroes crumble with such ease.

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“Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his magnificent Indian team prevailed in a comprehensive manner. This result should not come as shock news. With an Indian team replete with glorious past captains, a batsman with the most number of runs in Test history and a resurgent bowling attack, this outcome is hardly surprising,” says Melbourne-based Sabu John, who hails from Kochi and is an avid cricket fan.

Agrees Melbourne-based former Australian Consul General and Trade Commissioner to India, Shabbir Wahid, “This is indeed a tremendous win for India, which will be inked in the record books for many reasons including Sachin Tendulkar eclipsing Brian Lara’s run record and Amit Mishra’s seven wicket debut. But above all, it will be remembered for the commitment and determination of the Indian team.”

The Australian team’s disarray was evident as India wrapped up the second Test with a historic 320-run margin and Australia captain Ricky Ponting conceded that they were outplayed in every aspect of the game – batting, bowling and even fielding.

“The defeat is good for Australia and it won’t hurt them, but it will definitely make people respect India more, not just in cricket, but in every other field that India is making a mark on world stage,” says Joan Scharkie Wilson, a retired tour operator who accidentally became interested in cricket while taking Australians around India.

“Even children in the remote villages of Sikkim would immediately identify us as Australians the moment we said Don Bradman or Richie Benaud!” Wilson told IANS.

Australian cricket fans can take some comfort in what West Indian batting great Brian Lara told reporters while visiting the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra Tuesday. He said, Australia is not as invincible as they were, but they are capable of producing a team that can beat other teams in the world.

As Nidhiraj Singh, 15, who plays competition cricket for Sydney Grammar school says: “The Australians won’t give up without a fight and will return better and stronger. People have too much expectation from the new players in the current Australian Test side, who have very big shoes to fill. After the summer of discontent, it seems this series has become an opportunity for India to show Australia down.”

“With Australia’s quickly ageing team and India’s push for investment in younger talent, the world rankings look set to swing”, says Angud Chawla, 15, who plays competition cricket for Sydney Boys High School.

“The Indian selectors’ initiative to run with younger choices like Sharma and Mishra is only indicative of great things to come for India. Unfortunately for Australia, there are no young standout spinners and this leaves a gaping hole in the side after Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath,” adds Chawla, a Class 10 student.

It is only the seventh time in history that Australia has suffered a humiliating defeat by over 300 runs. As Surinder Yadav says: “Haven’t seen the Aussies beaten so comprehensively in a long time. It is turning to be a really exciting four Test series.”

For now, cricket fans are staying tuned for more thrills and spills to unfold at the Third Test in Delhi beginning a day after Diwali on Oct 29.