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This day, last year: When Kohli’s men scripted history down under

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New Delhi: It was on January 7, 2019 when Virat Kohli’s men became the first-ever Indian team to register a Test series win in Australia. It was the first time since 1947, that India were able to register a Test series victory in Down Under as they defeated the Tim Paine-led side 2-1 in the four-match rubber.

In their last tour Down Under, India had won the first Test in Melbourne (December 6-10) by 31 runs in Adelaide. They lost the second match (December 14-18) in Perth by 146 runs. However, they came back strongly in the third Test in Melbourne (December 26-30), registering a famous win by eight wickets. The fourth and the final Test (January 3-7) had ended in a draw in Sydney.

Speaking about the historic series win, former batsman VVS Laxman had said that it was his long-cherished dream which Kohli’s men fulfilled by defeating Australia in the own backyard and won the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

“I’m so glad that this Indian team under Virat’s leadership has beaten Australia for the first time in their own backyard which is my favourite moment of Indian cricket in 2019,” Laxman had said.

Australia, during that series, did not have the services of David Warner and Steve Smith who were facing a ban for their role in the Sandpaper Gate controversy.

However, Paine on Monday, said he is eagerly waiting for his side’s clash against the top-ranked Test side India, which he believes is going to be a “mouth-watering” series.

“We are certainly a different side from what they played against last year and there’s more at stake with Test Championship points,” Paine said after Australia’s whitewash of New Zealand in the three-Test series.

The victory over Black Caps has brought Australia (296) closer to India (360) at the top of the World Test Championship table with the two nations occupying the positions which will earn places in the final at Lord’s in 2021.

“If we can continue our upward trend from the last 12 months, then you are looking at two of the best sides, so it will be an awesome series. They showed last year they have a pace battery that can be every bit as threatening as ours so it will be one to watch.”

Paine said the way Australia approached the key moments in matches had changed since India last toured, resulting in the clinical displays against Pakistan and New Zealand.

“Every team wants to be ruthless,” he said.

“(But) I think there were probably periods in the Test series against India we should have capitalised on, but through wanting it too much, or trying too hard, or putting too much pressure on ourselves, we let it slip,” Paine added.

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Pacers shine for India on Day 2 of warm-up game

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Hamilton: Indian pacers came out with a remarkable performance on second day of the practice game against New Zealand XI being played at the Seddon Park.

On Saturday, the four Indian pacers — Mohammad Shami, Jasprit Bumrah, Umesh Yadav and Navdeep Saini — all bowled on immaculate line and lengths and bundled out New Zealand XI for 235.

While Shami was pick of the Indian bowlers as he picked up 3 for 17, Bumrah, Umesh and Saini picked two-two wickets each. Ace off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin scalped the remaining one wicket.

For New Zealand XI, Henry Cooper top scored with 40 while Rachin Ravindra and captain Daryl Mitchell contributed with 34 and 32 respectively.

With a lead of 28, Indian openers Prithvi Shaw and Mayank Agarwal then came out all guns blazing in the second innings and accumulated 59 runs in the seven overs they played before Stumps.

While Shaw scored 35* off the 25 balls he faced (5 fours and a six), Agarwal too smashed 23 runs off 17 balls (4 fours and a six), swelling India’s lead to 89.

In their first innings, India had been bundled out for 263 riding on Hanuma Vihari’s 101 and Cheteshwar Pujara’s 93.

Brief Scores: India 263 all out and 59/0 (Prithvi Shaw 35*, Mayank Agarwal 23*); New Zealand 235 all out (Henry Cooper 40, Mohammed Shami 3/17

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