India’s cricketers were hailed as ‘Immortals’ on Wednesday following their record-breaking win in Brisbane, but some former greats called for chastened Australia to make changes.
India thrillingly achieved their 328 target with just 18 balls left on the final day to win the four-Test series 2-1, the highest successful run chase at Australia’s “Fortress Gabba”, where the hosts had been unbeaten for 32 years.
“It was the day when The Irrepressibles became The Immortals,” declared News Corp’s veteran cricket writer Robert Craddock.
India’s refusal to play for a draw, which would have been enough for them to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, was lauded.
“The outcome was a revelation: Australia pressed for victory because they had to, India because they wanted to, and the result was a fitting climax to one of the most extraordinary series of all time,” wrote Gideon Haigh in The Australian newspaper.
Most were united in their praise of India, but there was also criticism of Australia.
“I think there’ll be a huge fallout from this,” said leg-spinning great Shane Warne, commentating on TV, noting that India had been without their entire frontline bowling attack through injury.
“There’s not too many times that you lose to the second or third side,” he said. “Tactics will come into question. Bowlers will come into question. People’s spots in the team will come into question.”
Mitchell Starc, who bowled 16 wicketless overs for 75 on the final day, came in for particular criticism after taking just 11 wickets in the series.
Former Australian captain Mark Taylor said: “You can have Starc when he’s bowling at his best, but I think we need some subtlety in our bowling. We need someone who can swing the ball a bit, someone who can ask questions around lbw or bowled, not always looking to bounce batsmen out or get them caught behind,” Taylor said.
“We mightn’t be thanking you in five years when you’re still whisking away matches from under our noses, but thanks for now, and take a bow,” said the Sydney Morning Herald’s Greg Baum.