View from the terraces

‘See you at the Gabba’: Tim Paine trolled after India’s stunning Test win

Australia hadn’t lost a Test at ‘fortress’ Gabba for 32 years - but India’s victory sees Paine’s sledge go viral

Australian cricket captain Tim Paine may live to regret his “sledge” against Indian batsman Ravichandran Ashwin during the drawn Sydney Test match last week. 

Standing behind the stumps keeping wicket, the Aussie skipper baited Ashwin by warning him we’ll “see you at the Gabba” in the final match of the series. 

The Brisbane Cricket Ground, located in the suburb of Woolloongabba, has become a “fortress” for visiting teams, with Australia unbeaten there for 32 years in Test cricket. 

Going into the deciding match, the series was evenly poised with the scores level at 1-1. But with Australia’s Gabba record and the visitors missing star captain Virat Kohli, the odds were clearly stacked against India, who were also without first-choice players Jasprit Bumrah, Hanuma Vihari, Ravindra Jadeja, and Ashwin.

However, this is Test cricket and the young Indian team were not going to let history or injuries stand in their way. Chasing a Brisbane record of 328 runs to win in the fourth and final Test, India pulled off one of cricket’s best ever chases to seal a three-wicket victory and 2-1 series win. 

Cricket fans all over the world watched on in amazement, the Indian team celebrated retaining the Border–Gavaskar Trophy, then the focus quickly turned to Paine and his comments from Sydney.

‘India’s gain is Australia’s Paine’

Some of Test cricket’s most colourful characters have enjoyed the odd slanging match while in the heat of the battle. But comments can often come back to haunt you...  

On social media today cricket fans from India - and a few from England and New Zealand - have widely shared videos of Paine chirping away at Ashwin in the Sydney Test.

Some Twitter users have had some fun with it, while others have been brutal in mercilessly mocking the Aussie skipper. 

Ravi Ashwin did not play in Brisbane but in a tweet he even tagged Paine on his post. He said: “Good evening from Gabba!! I am sorry I couldn’t play here but thanks for hosting us and playing some hard cricket during these tough times. We will remember this series forever! @tdpaine36 @CricketAus.” 

Ashwin’s wife, Prithi, also got in on the act: 

‘One of the all-time great series’

Despite the mocking of Paine and his Gabba comments, the 2020-21 Test series between Australia and India will go down in history as one of the best ever. 

In the first Test in Adelaide India were bowled out for just 36 runs in their second innings (their lowest team total in Tests) as they lost by eight wickets. But they hit back in Melbourne to win the second Test by eight wickets, drew in Sydney then secured the memorable victory in Brisbane. 

BBC Sport described India’s run-chase at the Gabba as “astonishing”, in what was “one of the all-time great series”. Former Australia captain Ian Chappell added: “It had everything. It was an absolutely amazing day. This has been one of top three Test series of all time.” 

An emotional India captain Ajinkya Rahane summed up the efforts of his team by saying: “I don’t know how to describe this victory. I’m really proud of all the boys. We didn’t talk about anything after Adelaide, we just wanted to show good character and express ourselves. It was all about a team effort.”

Will Paine still be captain for the Ashes? 

Australia skipper Paine may regret his sledging in Sydney, but he was quick to praise the visitors for their performance. He said: “In the key moments we were found wanting and completely outplayed by India, who fully deserved their series win.” 

Test cricket fans also have the Australia vs. England rivalry to look forward to in 2021-22. But will Paine still hold the captaincy for the series down under? Former England skipper Michael Vaughan is doubtful.

Writing in The Telegraph he said: “Any time Australia lose a series at home, their skipper is in a precarious position, and Paine is now under serious pressure.

“He left himself a hostage to fortune with his comments to Ravi Ashwin in Sydney, where he called him a “d---head” and said that he couldn’t wait to get him to the Gabba. To say those comments haven’t aged well is an understatement.”

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