Sports India Cricket – NEW DELHI – Even by the standards of a sport that tests stamina with matches that can last five days, the Indian cricket team had to work hard to complete a lengthy tour of Australia that had been hampered by the coronavirus pandemic. coronavirus.

One player missed his father’s funeral to continue on tour, another the birth of his eldest daughter, a daughter he still hasn’t seen two months later.

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But in the end, a young team without its big-money stars, wracked by injuries and deflated by racial slurs from the home crowd, pulled off a rare feat on Tuesday: beating a self-assured Australia on their home turf, securing a four set match. games with a victory in Brisbane, in a venue where the hosts had not lost a game in five days for more than 30 years.

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The victory was a boost for the people of India, where cricket has unrivaled status as a shared passion in the massive and generally restless nation. It was a welcome departure at a particularly difficult time for India, which has been hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and is reeling from the fallout from an economic downturn.

Fans were glued to their television screens and cell phones across the country Tuesday as the fate of the Test Series, as the longer multi-day version of the game is called, came down to the final moments of the final game. One television commentator even told viewers that if ever there was a day to cancel work with an excuse, now is the time. In New Delhi, announcers could be heard roaring with excitement from cars stuck in the city’s notorious traffic jams.

The victory in Australia is considered one of the best in Indian cricket history. During the celebrations, it became clear that for many Indians, the sport has also become an important symbol of their nation’s broader ambition to rub shoulders with world powers.

“Nothing comes close to this, it beats everything,” said Ravi Shastri, a former Indian player who is the team’s head coach.

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“It’s young India at work – give them a stage and go,” said Harsha Bhogle, a famous cricket commentator. “Our generation thinks: Don’t lose. He lives in another world. They see the victory, the opportunity.

The victory underscored the Indian team’s pre-eminence in a game once dominated by England, the West Indies and Australia, and the country’s position at the center of a sport that has brought its stars much hubris and great fortunes.

The Indian Premier League, a tournament held each year in India around a shorter version of the game with each match lasting about three hours, is one of the world’s highest-grossing sporting events, valued at almost $7 billion. dollars in 2019.

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The league attracts top players from around the world to play for high-paying Indian club teams in a glamorous festival of colours.

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The league became so central to the sport and so lucrative that it continued at the height of the pandemic in September. With the virus spreading rapidly in India, organizers moved the tournament to the United Arab Emirates, where they set up “biological bubbles” for matches and conducted up to 30,000 Covid tests. The Indian cricket organization earned more than $500 million in last year’s tournament, officials told local media.

To secure their series victory in Australia, the Indian team had to bounce back from a humiliating start in which they were crushed by the hosts in the opener in December. They also had to continue without the services of their regular captain, Virat Kohli, who returned home on paternity leave after the first game, and with several key players ruled out with injuries.

The team that won the final match relied on a hunger for younger replacements, including Mohammed Siraj, who remained on the circuit despite the death of his father, a rickshaw driver, in November, and T Natarajan, who missed out on the birth of their first child. .

This month, Australian authorities launched an investigation after players said fans booed them with racial slurs during the game, which many described as typical of Australia’s xenophobic sports culture.

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Cricket Australia, the country’s governing body for the game, has promised to “follow up the matter to the fullest extent possible”. But Ben Abbatangelo, a former professional cricketer, said it was difficult for organizers to truly condemn such behavior for fear of alienating the game’s fan base, which he described as rife with “toxic masculinity” and “nationalism”.

Even though the coronavirus was the backdrop to the tour, matches were able to go on relatively uninterrupted, apart from the expulsion of some misbehaving fans. But the Australian Open tennis tournament, which is due to start in Melbourne on February 8, has been thrown into chaos by a virus outbreak among players.

On Tuesday, Australian health authorities said seven people associated with the tournament had tested positive. The players, forced to quarantine in hotel rooms with no access to the pitches to train, also said it would be impossible for them to properly prepare for the tournament.

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Mujib Mashal is the South Asia correspondent for the New York Times. Born in Kabul, he wrote for magazines such as The Atlantic, Harper’s, Time and others before joining The Times. @MujMash

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A version of this article appears in print in Section B, Page 8 of the New York edition under the headline: Brave victory in Australia gives India much-needed boost. Request reprints | Today’s Newspaper | SubscribeIndia beat England by five wickets in the Third International Matchday at Emirates Old Trafford to clinch a 2-1 series victory; Rishabh Pant reaches first ODI century as India chases 260 with 47 balls to spare; Hardik Pandya takes the best 4-24 of his career and connects 71 of 55 balls

Rishabh Pant’s impressive unbeaten 125 and a brilliant overall performance from Hardik Pandya led India to a five wicket victory over England in the third One Day International and a 2–1 series victory.

Backed mostly by a raucous crowd at Emirates Old Trafford, India beat England to 259 in 45.5 overs with Hardik posting a career best 4-24 before scoring 71 for 55 on a 133-point stand with Pant while India was running towards victory.

Reece Topley (3-35) had given England hope with a three-wicket flurry in an excellent opening spell after Jos Buttler’s (60) first half-century since taking over from Eoin Morgan as skipper helped draw out England’s first problems with the bat.

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However, the brilliance of Pant (125 for 113) and Hardik allowed India to overcome their own early woes to secure victory on 47 balls in reserve.

For much of the innings, Pant was pretty reserved by his standards, but he made sure to finish the job in style, snapping five straight fours against David Willey before signing on a reverse sweep from Joe Root for another cap.

After winning the toss and opting to bowl, Rohit Sharma revealed that Jasprit Bumrah was ruled out due to a back spasm.

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What seemed like a blow to the visitors was quickly forgotten when his replacement Mohammad Siraj (2-66) scored twice in the second to dispatch Jonny Bairstow (0) and Root (0) without being bothered by scorers.

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Image: Mohammad Siraj knocked India out of a midfielder by sacking Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root for ducks

England responded in their typical fashion, going on the attack with Jason Roy, who had hit three bounds in the first over, and Ben Stokes determined to prevail against the Indian bowlers.

They were successful for a while too, hitting 54 in good time before Roy (41 off 31 balls) passed Hardik and sent the ball straight in, with Pant taking a simple hold behind.

Stokes (27) went down on another Hardik bumper, feeling tight as he moved forward and this time the skied top edge was taken by the bowler.

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From 74-4 England had to regroup again, and this time they did it the old fashioned way with Buttler and Moeen Ali forced to dig in some excellent and aggressive Indian bowling which saw the home captain’s helmet rocked twice by Siraj. .

Buttler broke the shackles with a pair of sixes against Chahal, while Moeen hit two soft shots for four and then shot for six on an 18-point Siraj before driving Chahal to another high.

However, just as England seemed to have recovered in the innings, Ravindra Jadeja (1-21) came on and broke the 75-point mark.

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Moeen (34) was on the sweep but was only able to do it with gloves on and Pant, having anticipated the shot, was there to take a clever hold on the side of the leg.

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Buttler scored his 22nd ODI 52nd off an unusually quiet 65 ball, but a crucial shot under the circumstances, in another promising partnership with Liam Livingstone.

The Lancashire all-rounder nailed Hardik with a brutal pair of sixes in the midst of an entertaining battle, but it was the Indian bowler who prevailed as Livingstone (27) came in again and Jadeja caught him magnificently over the rope.

Three balls later and Hardik and Jadeja combined again to give