Former Australia captain Ian Chappell feels the Virat Kohli-led side is India’s best in pace bowling and fielding but it is nowhere close to being the best in batting. India defeated Australia 2-1 for their maiden Test series triumph Down Under, ending a 71-year wait. The historic victory has garnered widespread praise for Kohli’s men with several former players lauding the gritty performance.
Asked if this was the best Indian team of all time on ‘ESPNCricinfo’, Chappell said, “This Indian side is the best fast bowling contingent I have seen from India and the best fielding side that I have seen from India.” “But it’s not the best batting side. I have seen better batting combinations from India than this team,” he added, but did not dwell on which batting line-up he considered the best.
Although Cheteshwar Pujara was adjudged man of the series for being the series’ top-scorer, India’s traditionally much-vaunted batting was, for once, overshadowed by the team’s pacers. However, Pujara held the unique record for facing the most deliveries (1245) by a visiting batsman during a series in Australia, having played four or fewer Tests. The Saurashtra-batsman batted 1868 minutes in four-match Test series; the third most by an Indian in a Test series. Only Sunil Gavaskar (1978 mins vs WI in 1971 and 1976 mins vs ENG in 1981/82) has batted longer in a Test series for India than Pujara.
The Indian pacers accounted for 50 of the 70 Australian wickets during the engagement.
The visiting pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami combined for an average of 21.62 in the four-match series, while Australia’s pace battery, comprising Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood, averaged over 30.
Chappell said the Indian bowlers did well to exploit the conditions.
“I thought the Indian bowlers did really well and overall they out-bowled the Australians. They got more swing than the Australian bowlers.
“I think the seam position of the Indian fast bowlers was very good. They kept it up the whole time and perhaps that’s why they swung the ball more than the Australians,” he explained.
(With PTI Inputs)