After the Thrilla in Manila, Muhammad Ali was to say: “Joe Frazier, I’ll tell the world right now, brings out the best in me.” The cricketers of India and Australia appear to operate on the same principle. India, such a disappointment at the Champions Trophy in South Africa, have rediscovered their spirit. Australia, with an injury list that makes Rafael Benítez’s woes at Liverpool look trivial, have shown the same fortitude that Frazier did on that long-ago night when he was reduced to fighting from memory.
After falling four runs short in Vadodara, India were markedly superior in both Nagpur and Delhi. When they then produced their best fielding and bowling display of the series – four run-outs included – to restrict Australia to 250 on a beautiful batting pitch in Mohali, it seemed as though the series tide was about to turn decisively their way.
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