'Top gesture': Fans moved by India's superb act of sportsmanship

Andrew Reid
·5-min read
India captain Ajinkya Rahane is seen here presenting Nathan Lyon with a signed jersey for his 100th Test.
India captain Ajinkya Rahane was praised after a classy gesture towards Nathan Lyon. Pic: BT Sport

India's Test stars capped off a remarkable history-making win at the Gabba, with a post-match moment of class that is being praised around the world.

The tourists pulled off one of the most remarkable victories in their Test cricket history, with a venue-record chase of 328 proving a fitting finale for an incredible 2-1 series victory that saw them retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy.

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It was an extraordinary achievement from an injury-ravaged Indian side missing almost an entire Test XI of stars, as well as regular captain Virat Kohli, who returned home after the first Test for the birth of his child.

On the flip side, it was a heartbreaking way for Nathan Lyon to cap off what he would have hoped to be a memorable 100th Test milestone match.

The Aussie spinner was uncharacteristically out of form throughout the four-match Test series, still stranded one wicket short of his 400th Test scalp after taking just nine nine wickets at an average of 55.11 and strike rate of 124.6 in the series.

The figures are Lyon's worst for any home series across his illustrious 100-Test career.

But while Lyon and the Aussies watched in despair as India's players celebrate their incredible victory on Tuesday, the tourists saved their classiest moment for last.

Despite the sledges and the animosity between both teams throughout the series, India captain Ajiknya Rahane showed there was no hard feelings after calling Lyon over to the trophy presentation area.

The stand-in skipper then presented the Aussie spinner with a signed jersey to commemorate his 100-Test milestone, in a gesture commended by viewers across the world, including Indian Test legend, VVS Laxman.

“Excellent gesture from @ajinkyarahane88and the Indian team to Felicitate Nathan Lyon on his 100th Test Match,” Laxman wrote on Twitter.

“One more example of Sportsman Spirit from Rahane. How dignified he is even after achieving such a incredible win.”

A late wicket saw Lyon finish with 2-85 as India managed a ground-record 7-329, off the back of Rishabh Pant's swashbuckling unbeaten 89.

Pant in particular proved a thorn in Lyon's side, carving him to all parts of the SCG and the Gabba in successive Tests as India first saved the series in Sydney before winning it on the final day in Brisbane.

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Shane Warne led the criticism of Lyon's "negative" field settings on Tuesday, disappointed the 33-year-old hadn't employed a short mid-off or tempted the batsmen to be more attacking when the run chase appeared forlorn.

But it's a method that's proved the test of time and Aussie captain Tim Paine acknowledged Lyon's tough luck - he had five catches dropped and a stumping missed across the series - when delivering his assessment.

"They (India) grow up playing spin don't they; that's what Indian teams are famous for ... (but he) created plenty of chances, a close lbw shout early (on Tuesday) that goes his way and could've got on a roll," captain Paine said.

Nathan Lyon is pictured here looking dejected in the fourth Test against India.
Nathan Lyon's bowling figures were the worst of any home series in his career. Pic: Getty

"He bowled his heart out and at times we let him down in the field and at times balls didn't quite go to hand.

"He's been an absolute champ of Australian cricket, bowling well, creating chances and and he's someone who will bounce back well in (the next Test series in) South Africa."

Australia are due to leave for a three-Test series in South Africa next month, but Paine admitted they were yet to land on a departure date as COVID-19 continues to cloud the 2021 calendar.

with AAP

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