Adelaide: When Richie Benaud took over as Australian captain in 1958, his main aim was to transform the team into a bunch of entertainers. Benaud encouraged his team to play the game for the spectators and told his boys to back themselves to score 400 runs in a day. Results were secondary; the primary goal was to thrill the crowd.
Ever since that moment, the Australian public has become accustomed and appreciated the attacking brand of cricket. The positive approach of the Indian batsmen towards chasing an imposing 364-run target in 98 overs on a turning Day Five Adelaide track was a performance that was welcomed and enjoyed by the Australian public.
Bruce Janner, a South Australian Cricket Association (SACA) member, who watched Benaud's first game at the Adelaide Oval in 1963, said, "I've watched Garry Sobers, Viv Richards, Greg Chappell and Adam Gilchrist play at this ground and they always played to entertain. Today, the Indian batsmen led by Virat Kohli have kept up that legacy.
I've seen over 30 Tests at Adelaide and today's play is one of the best. Full credit to the Indians, no shame in losing such a match." The Indian captain did justice to his positive thoughts by stating, "it doesn't matter what target is set, we were going to go for a win."
When Kohli was dismissed, India still had three wickets and 60 runs remaining, but the 'word' survive never entered their mind. They could have easily opted to survive the 16 overs left in the day but the tailenders followed the instructions of their captain. They went for the win, even if it was against all the odds. It was courageous, brave and most importantly, Australian.
As India got closer and closer, Benaud sitting on his couch would have been smiling, Ian Chappell in the commentary box was wholesome in praise, Mark Taylor encouraging, Michael Clarke nervously admiring and most importantly the Australia public applauding.
India's brand of cricket may still result in three more losses, but they have won over the Australian public by playing a brand of cricket many generations of Australians had come to expect.