For close to 950 hours on these shores,the Indians went from gallows to guillotines without a win. But in the space of just 95 minutes on Friday,they resurrected themselves. That happened with neither bat or ball,but with their most outstanding fielding performance of the entire tour. While Gautam Gambhirs unbeaten innings was the icing on the cake,that bake was first put into the oven in the first innings,when he scurried backwards to catch David Warners mile-high skier.
That timed-to-perfection latch set the precedent for a performance that undid five weeks of horrendous running,catching and throwing. It also gave credence to surrounding talk of fresh limbs in the Indian T20 squad,as those young and able pedals in Ravindra Jadeja,Suresh Raina and Rohit Sharma ran out nearly half the Australian side. It wasnt that the Aussies werent fast between the wickets; the Indians were just faster on the field. And none more so than Jadeja at point.
With tomahawks for throws,the boy from Saurashtra made quick singles seem like suicides,when he ran out both top-scorer Aaron Finch and captain George Bailey in the seventh and ninth overs of the game respectively. And on both occasions,the caller was the otherwise ever-alert David Hussey.
Dabbing a Virat Kohli delivery to point,Hussey dashed off immediately,while Finch responded to the call with a charge. But Jadeja scooped up cleanly and released it in one motion,and MS Dhoni dislodged the bails about three metres before Finch could reach his nest. In the next case,Bailey seemed more interested in the single than the batsman,but Hussey sent him back to the non-strikers end while Jadeja redirected him towards the hut.
Theres a different energy about this Indian side,and they showed it tonight, said Bailey at the end of the game. We were surprised they didnt field well on Wednesday during the first T20. Theyre a good fielding side,with all the young guys that have come in for the T20s and one-dayers. They lifted their fielding from the other day.
The dismissal of the match,however,wasnt a run out,but a simple caught and bowled. Having set up Hussey with three leg side balls that didnt turn in the 14th over,Jadeja let one rip big off the same patch with a lot more overspin. Trying to guide it to square leg,the orthodox delivery wobbled off Husseys leading edge,and Jadeja clasped both his palms over the return gift.
We knew if we lifted our fielding,we could win on this tour, he said after receiving the Man of the Match award. It was a just reward for his expertise in manning the square on the off-side. Inspired by Jadeja,the morale of the team lifted,especially that of Rohit Sharma. The sulk at not being given a chance in Tests and the brood on being dismissed for a duck in the first T20 vanished when he disturbed danger-man Matthew Wades stumps. We talked about doing to same and thought that if we out-fielded India,we could still win this match, said Bailey. Unfortunately,we couldnt match that.