India rejoiced unashamedly at its first cricket Test win on South African soil, a success legendary all-rounder Kapil Dev said was “the best ever” abroad.
Rahul Dravid’s men conjured a 123-run victory in the first Test at the Wanderers in Johannesburg on Monday, stunning both experts and fans who had feared a one-sided contest in favour of the home team.
It was a remarkable turnaround by the Indians who had been routed 4-0 in the preceding one-day series against the Proteas and failed to make the semifinals of the Champions Trophy last month.
“It was our best ever win abroad,” said Kapil, India’s World Cup winning captain in England in 1983. “It is brilliant and stunning. Few of us expected such a result,” he remarked.
Newspapers gave the win front-page coverage with pictures of the celebrating Indian team drenching each other with champagne, beer and even orange juice.
“The boys have gone berserk,” captain Dravid was quoted as saying.
The team’s Australian coach Greg Chappell rued the “wasted” lager. “Beer is meant to be drunk, not poured on each other,” he said. “I must now teach them how to drink beer,” he added.
“Champagne comeback,” screamed a front-page headline in the Hindustan Times. “Wanderers never cease,” it said in a pun on South Africa’s most famous cricket ground.
“Indian party rocks the Wanderers,” said the Indian Express. “The win pulled a zip across hundreds of chirping South African mouths.”
The Times of India, under the headline ‘Christmas comes early’, said “the cocky South Africans just did not know what hit them as the Indians batted, bowled and fielded like men possessed.”
Indian cricket board vice-president Shashank Manohar suggested giving the players a bonus, less than a month after suggesting they should be handed a pay cut for the poor display in the one-dayers.
“I have always said that there has to be a performance oriented payment system and if the team has done well, as exceedingly as it has now, then they are entitled to a bonus,” said Manohar.
But former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar urged the team not to get carried away with two more Tests still to be played in the series.
“They deserve to enjoy the moment,” he said. “Then it will be back to business again. The series is not over yet,” he explained.
The second Test starts on December 26 in Durban followed by the third in Cape Town from January 2.
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Post InfoThis entry was posted on Wednesday, December 20th, 2006 and is filed under General.
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