India captain Ajinkya Rahane heaped praise on the individuals in his side after the visitors scripted a historic win at The Gabba to clinch the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Chasing a mammoth 328 on the final day of the Test, Team India rode on match-winning innings from Rishabh Pant (89 not out), Shubman Gill (91) and Cheteshwar Pujara (56) to register an epic win in the fourth and final Test to claim the series 2-1.
Interestingly, India became the first team to beat Australia at The Gabba in over 32 years.
Stand-in skipper Rahane hailed his players for the character that they showed during the course of the four-match series against Australia.
"It means a lot to us. I don't know how to describe this, but our boys showed a lot of character and determination after the Adelaide Test," Rahane said at the post-match presentation.
"I'm really proud of each and every individual," he added.
Earlier in the series, Australia had won the first Test in Adelaide, while bundling out India with the pink ball for their lowest Test total of 36. However, the Rahane-led side registered a stunning comeback at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), winning the Boxing Day Test by eight wickets. The third Test then ended in an epic draw in Sydney.
Meanwhile, Rahane further hailed the youngsters in the team -- Washington Sundar, Mohammed Siraj and Shardul Thakur.
Siraj had claimed his maiden five-wicket haul in Brisbane and ended as India's leading wicket-taker in the series with 13 wickets.
Debutant Sundar had a memorable outing as he picked four wickets and scored 84 runs at the Gabba. On the other hand, Thakur, playing just his second Test match, scalped seven wickets and scored 69 runs. The trio played a significant role as India conquered the Gabba fortress.
"Taking 20 wickets was the key, so we opted for five bowlers. Sundar brought the balance in place of (Ravindra) Jadeja," said Rahane while revealing that the team always wanted to play with five bowlers.
"The intention was clear to play five bowlers. Siraj played two Tests, (Navdeep) Saini just one, so it was inexperienced but the character shown by the bowlers and everyone else was incredible," he added.
India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, who has been adjudged the Man of the match, stated that his match-winning innings in Brisbane was the biggest thing he has ever achieved in life.
"I think this is the biggest thing in my life right now. I am happy (and thankful) to the support staff, and all the fans who supported me even though I was not playing the initial matches (the limited overs series games and the first pink-ball Test). But it has been a dream series I can say that. I had been practising hard and everything paid off because we won the series," said Pant.
On the other hand, Australia captain Tim Paine was pretty disappointed with his side’s performance in the series.
“Absolutely disappointed. We came here to win the Test and win the series, it's been a bit of a trend that we were found wanting in the key moments and completely outplayed by a tough Indian side that fully deserves the win. But all credit to India, our bowlers threw everything at them."
Pat Cummins, who was adjudged the player of the series, gave credit to Rishabh and the Indian team for registering an epic win at the Gabba.
"Good hard day of Test cricket today, I thought Rishabh and the whole Indian side played fantastically, took the game on and deserved the win. I would have liked the cracks to play a few more tricks, but it was a pretty good wicket. Once you were in, it was pretty free-flowing, the runs. I thought today and in Sydney the game was ours to win on day five, but we didn't take enough wickets, but overall happy [with my performance]."
Meanwhile, Team India moved to the top of the ICC World Test Championship standings following their historic 2-1 series win over Australia in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Feature image courtesy: David Kapernick / AFP