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Happy with fight but must keep improving: Cricket Australia

"There were many fine individual performances, but none better than those of the captain," Peever said.

Australia v India Test
Australian Team. (Photo Source: BCCI)

A lot of experts had termed India as clear favorites before the start of the 4-match series. Former India cricketers Sourav Ganguly and Harbhajan Singh were bullish about India’s chances as they predicted a 4-0 whitewash for Australia. The Australians stunned the cricketing world by going 1-0 up in the series after they won the first Test at Pune by a hefty 333-run margin.

Skipper Steve Smith scored a memorable century in the second innings which helped his team to set a daunting 441-run target for the home side to chase in the fourth innings. Though they lost the second Test at Bangalore, they fought hard to secure a draw in the third Test to keep the series alive. A second innings collapse in the final match resulted in an 8-wicket defeat which meant that they lost Border-Gavaskarskar Trophy to India after two years of reclaiming it.

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Australia competed well in each game but lacked in giving the knock-out punch especially at Bangalore. A 2-1 series scoreline is not a bad result at all considering that it was against India in India and Cricket Australia was quick to acknowledge that. “As the team arrives home over the next two days, they will find that all of Australia is immensely proud of their efforts,” CA chairman David Peever said in a statement.

“Some gave them little chance of testing the world’s number one team, but instead showed resilience, adaptability and a determination to overcome the difficulties they have experienced in recent years in such conditions.”

Australia hasn’t had a great last year as far as Test cricket is concerned. They lost 3 out of the last 4 series played over the last 12 months and the only series win came against a hapless Pakistan side at home. They were whitewashed by Sri Lanka in August last year and lost a home series to South Africa (1-2) at the start of the summer.

The 5-time World Cup winners came into this series with not much confidence and performances behind them hence their efforts in this series were commendable as Australia looked an improved side.

“We aspire to be number one in all formats, so while the team’s efforts in India, and across the summer following the disappointment of the first two tests against South Africa, represent a significant improvement, we all know that we must continue to learn and develop our skills,” Peever said.

“We want to win major trophies, like the Ashes and the Border-Gavaskar, not just at home but overseas as well.”

The Australian captain though is having a great run with the bat. With tons of runs in the last couple of years, Steve Smith now averages over 61 in Test match cricket, second only to Don Bradman (minimum 1500 Test runs). He scored runs for fun in tough conditions here in India as he finished the series with 499 runs, the most across sides which also included 3 hundreds.

“There were many fine individual performances, but none better than those of the captain,” Peever said.

“Steve showed yet again what an outstanding leader he is becoming, and his honesty and gracious comments at the end demonstrated the qualities that Australians expect from their test captain.”

The series was played with a lot of competitiveness as both sides showed great intensity. There were a few controversies as well, none more than Steve Smith’s ‘brian fade’ moment at Bangalore. Kohli too did not mince his words as he yesterday declared that his friendship with Australia is now over.

“It was a tough series, as we expected and indeed welcome from our Indian hosts,” Peever said.

“Cricket at this level is highly competitive, and it is incumbent on all involved, players and administrators, to honor the protocols and standards of behavior that underpin the spirit of cricket.”

– Written by Salman Khan

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