The Ranchi Test has ended in a draw but that match was far more interesting than what many will believe. This was the first Test match in this city and while the cricket fans did not fill up the stands, the match did live up to the expectations, courtesy some gutsy display of Test cricket by the two sides.
Highpoints of the game
Let us not talk about what all happened with a few shoulders in this Test match, irrespective of the fact that these shoulders added the much-needed spice to the match. Even Virat Kohli would not have guessed that his injured shoulder would create a series of injuries or to say, fake injuries. That we can discuss later. For now, it is all about the quality of bowling and batting that was on show in Ranchi.
First thing, first. We must admit that captain Australian captain Steve Smith has led his side beautifully in the series. There is still one match to go and he already has two centuries and important ones too, to his name. The second one in Ranchi was as important as Pune’s. Had he not scored in the first innings, India probably would have ended the game in just under 4 days.
Australia did not have a great game with the ball. They bowled for almost six sessions on the trot. One bowler who stood out from the rest was Pat Cummins. Making a comeback in the team after 6 years, he had a massive burden on his back. He did not get rid of it, he tore it apart, picking 4 wickets in the match after having bowled 106 overs.
There were many reasons why Australia failed to pick wickets, like inconsistency in length, lack of variations in the armoury. The biggest reason was Cheteshwar Pujara, who arguably, played the best Test knock of his career. A separate piece can be written on him and we leave it out to discuss his innings in that piece itself.
It appeared as if this was a match for the Saurashtra boys. If Pujara shone with the bat, Jadeja glittered with the ball in hand. 124 for 5 in the first innings and 54 for 4 in the second innings are the reason why Indian cricket invested so much him in the last few years. He is reaping dividends in form of wickets for India.
Looking at Dharamshala from Ranchi
A lot has changed in this series. In Pune, India were supposed to absolutely thrash Australia. At least this is what the cricket experts around the world saw. What happened? Thrashing happened, however, it was not the Australians who were at the receiving end but the Indians.
It appeared as if India’s honeymoon period was about to be over. Bengaluru might turn out to be Pune again. Virat Kohli’s India kicked all such notions out of the box. India won, making the series tied at 1-1. What followed was heated exchange between Virat Kohli and the Australian team, or to say the Australian media. Ranchi was supposed to be the Perth of 2008 for Australia, where it avenged the ‘Brain Fade’ moment.
Ranchi Test saw a great spectacle of Test cricket. This match saw the best of the two teams, unlike Pune and Bengaluru, where either of the two teams dominated. Ranchi, has been, the best match so far in the series, where cricket took the centerstage, amidst various controversies which tried to shoulder it.
Steve Smith batted almost for one and half days to make sure there were no hiccups like Bengaluru. Cummins showed great character with the ball. Pujara showed why he is one of the best number 3s in the world in Test cricket. And Jadeja, told us why he is there at the top in the ICC Test bowler rankings.
Dharamshala, where the next match is set to be played, is generally cold throughout the year. With series poised at 1-1 after three matches, Dharamshala will decide who surged ahead in the end. It will be the first ever Test for Dharamshala, it will be the last chance, however, for Smith and Kohli to prove who’s the best? After all, the whole fight roams around the same question.