See you at the Gabba mate! A sledge that must still be haunting Tim Paine at night. A place where teams used to go to surrender, a place which was called the Australian team’s “fortress”, was breached. A bunch of youngsters, who tasted blood in Melbourne and shed blood in Sydney, turned the Gabba Blue.
But before the Gabba heroics, India had to suffer Adelaide humiliation. First Test, 36-all out, India were written off after that, increasing injury lists didn’t help the case either. ‘Momentum’ was with Australia, or so it was assumed. A week later, India turned the tables and won at MCG.
Momentum was overshadowed.
A year before, the Men in Yellow had disintegrated their arch-rivals England – at their fortress – at Edgbaston - in front of the drunken crowd and hooligan band. Australia’s dressing room scene was enough to suggest how big the win was. Pat Cummins’ famous saying – “Fortress, they called it their fortress”, was the highlight of the win and the documentary. ‘Momentum’ was with Australia.
But after the Edgbaston breach, England made a strong comeback pulled off a historic win at Headingly. Ben Stokes’ heroic innings helped England pull off an incredible 1-wicket win.
Momentum was crushed.
A week later, Australia retained the Ashes by defeating the host at Old Trafford in Manchester.
Momentum was vanquished.
Cut back to September 2021, The Oval, a fortress which India hadn’t breached in 50 years. The visitors' last win came in 1971. Coming on the back of an innings loss, the ‘momentum’ was clearly not on India’s side but will was, luck was, skill was. The young brought their Gabba weapons and attacked so fiercely, that England had to surrender.
Another fortress breached, another momentum shift.
With the series well poised, it would be stupid to say now that momentum is with India. One thing that India would know is that the fortress talk is now outdated. Meanwhile, for England, they must know that momentum is overrated.