In the history of Indian cricket, there have been several memorable moments, but one that stands out is the 2013 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. This series, which took place between India and Australia, was filled with excitement, drama, outstanding performances, and significant controversies. It marked a turning point for both teams, but for completely different reasons. Under the captaincy of MS Dhoni, India achieved a remarkable clean sweep, while Australia faced a ball-tampering scandal that shook the cricketing world. Let’s delve into the details of this historic series.
India’s 4-0 Whitewash of Australia – 2013 Border-Gavaskar Series
Under the leadership of MS Dhoni, India achieved an extraordinary feat by completing a 4-0 clean sweep against Australia in the Border-Gavaskar series. This victory was particularly significant as it was the first time in over 40 years that Australia had been whitewashed in a Test series of more than three matches. The last time this had happened was in 1970 when Australia lost 4-0 to South Africa.
The series showcased India’s dominance and marked the first time the Indian team had won four successive matches in a Test series since becoming a part of the elite cricket playing nations. Cheteshwar Pujara played a crucial role in the final match, scoring an unbeaten 82 to help India comfortably reach their target of 158 for the loss of four wickets. Ravindra Jadeja’s exceptional bowling performance, taking five for 58, played a significant role in skittling out Australia for 164 in their second innings.
The 2018 Australian Ball-Tampering Scandal
While March 24, 2013, holds a special place in the hearts of Indian cricket fans, the same date in 2018 marked a dark moment in Australian cricket history. On this day, Australian captain Steve Smith, vice-captain David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft were found guilty of ball-tampering during a Test match in Cape Town, South Africa. The incident was captured on camera, and it sent shockwaves throughout the cricketing world.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull described the incident as a “shocking disappointment,” and Cricket Australia launched an investigation into the ball-tampering revelations. Eventually, Smith, Warner, and Bancroft were handed suspensions by Cricket Australia for their involvement in the scandal. This incident not only tarnished the reputation of Australian cricket but also raised questions about the spirit of the game.
Five Major Talking Points from the 2013 Border-Gavaskar Series
1. Homeworkgate Controversy
Every India-Australia series is known for its controversies, and the 2013 Border-Gavaskar series was no exception. The standout controversy of this series, known as “Homeworkgate,” took place off the field and involved the Australian team. After losing the first two Tests comprehensively, Australia faced the prospect of losing the Border-Gavaskar Trophy if they didn’t improve. In an attempt to address their performance issues, coach Mickey Arthur asked each squad member to prepare a three-point presentation on how the team and individuals could improve.
However, four players, including vice-captain Shane Watson, failed to submit their homework on time. As a result, they were suspended for the third Test in Mohali. This decision polarized opinions, with some praising Arthur’s disciplinary approach and others criticizing him for his actions. Despite the controversy, Australia ended up losing the match and the series.
2. Shane Watson’s Form
One of the key talking points of the series was the form of Australian all-rounder Shane Watson. After being axed from the team, Watson returned for the fourth Test in Delhi as captain due to Michael Clarke’s fitness issues. However, his performance with the bat did not improve as expected. Watson had a poor run in the series, scoring only 77 runs in the two Tests he played. This raised concerns about his role in the team and led to discussions about his future as a Test player. Watson would need to reassess his approach and consider potential changes to his primary trade, especially with the upcoming Ashes series in England.
3. India Winning All Matches After Losing the Toss
Despite consistently losing the toss in all four matches, India emerged victorious in each game, showcasing their dominance in the series. Winning the toss in India is often advantageous due to the challenging conditions, but India’s strong performances defied this convention. In batting, India managed to secure a first-innings lead in all four Tests, even when batting second on deteriorating pitches. Their bowlers, particularly the spinners, consistently took wickets, restricting Australia’s scoring opportunities. India’s exceptional fielding also played a crucial role in maintaining pressure on the Australian batsmen throughout the series.
4. Partnerships Won India Matches and the Series
A significant factor in India’s success was their ability to build partnerships. MS Dhoni emphasized the importance of partnerships, highlighting how they laid the foundation for individual centuries. The series witnessed several memorable partnerships that propelled India to victory. In the Hyderabad and Mohali Tests, Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara, as well as Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan, established massive top-order partnerships of 370 and 289 runs, respectively. In Chennai, Dhoni and Bhuvneshwar Kumar’s 140-run ninth-wicket stand provided India with a substantial first-innings lead. These partnerships not only demoralized the Australian team but also showcased India’s strength as a cohesive unit.
5. The Arrival of Ravindra Jadeja
Ravindra Jadeja’s inclusion in the Test team for the Border-Gavaskar series initially raised eyebrows and invited mockery. However, he proved his critics wrong with exceptional performances throughout the series. Although primarily selected as an all-rounder and part-time spinner, Jadeja’s bowling skills shone brightly. He outperformed Harbhajan Singh, a veteran of 100 Tests, by taking five wickets in the first match. Jadeja continued to impress, taking six wickets each in the Hyderabad and Mohali Tests, and seven wickets in Delhi. While his batting contributions were overshadowed by others, his crucial boundaries during the Mohali Test helped India secure a victory. This series proved that Jadeja had established himself as a valuable player for the Indian team.
The 2013 Border-Gavaskar Trophy will forever be etched in the annals of Indian cricket history. India’s clean sweep against Australia showcased their dominance, while the ball-tampering scandal brought disgrace to the Australian team. The series had its fair share of controversies, outstanding performances, and memorable moments. It highlighted the importance of partnerships in winning matches and emphasized the impact of individual contributions. As India celebrated their historic victory, the Australian team faced the repercussions of their actions. This series serves as a reminder of the ever-present drama and excitement that surrounds the game of cricket.