The 2023 Border Gavaskar trophy was a much-awaited event, as the last time both sides faced each other on Indian soil was back in 2017, after which India defeated Australia in Australia twice in a row.
India started as a favorite and played like it for the first 2 matches, taking a series lead of 2-0.
After the long break between the second and third test matches and under the leadership of Steven Smith, Australia fought harder and went on to win the third test match and draw the fourth. It wasn't a series that involved a verbal exchange between players, which is expected in India-Australia encounters. In the fourth match, Prime Ministers of both countries were present on Day 1 to celebrate 75 years of friendship between the countries and it certainly was a very friendly series.
In the first two matches, Australia had no answers to India's spin attack and jaw-dropping depth in India's batting lineup.
Every time Australia looked to take a lead in the match, they fell short of plans due to India's counter punches. India playing 9 batsmen including 3 high-quality spin all-rounders make them a very difficult team to beat in home conditions.
Standout players for India in the Border Gavaskar Trophy this year have been Ravindra Jadeja, R. Ashwin, Axar Patel, M. Shami, Virat Kohli, and Shubhman Gill.
Axar Patel looked like the most assured batsman on spinning tracks for India. Not for a moment was he uncomfortable at the crease. His performance in Delhi, in which he was involved in a match-winning performance with R. Ashwin was for me the turning point of the series. The scoreline could have been 2-1 in favor of Australia if not for that very crucial partnership.
For Australia Usman Khwaja and Nathan Lyon were the top two players. Khwaja fought it out in the middle after the first match and played important knocks for his side. Nathan Lyon continued his relentless form against India.
Australia definitely looked like a better side when Steven Smith was captaining not only because they won a match but majorly because they looked more assured and had plans in place. In the first two matches under Pat Cummins's captaincy, they looked clueless on the field.
Both teams very well deserve to be in the finals on WTC. It should be a very good contest. It will be a tough challenge for team India as Australia is going to be a very different team in English conditions.
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