Bandon Mein Tha Dum, is the perfect name given to this sports docu-series in so many ways. It reveals the strength, character, and resilience shown by every Indian player that contributed to their team’s win. The Border-Gavaskar trophy 2020-21 will always be counted as one of the best test series ever played. It will remind the world about the gritty Indian youth that is never in the mood to take a step back.
Directed by a very fine Neeraj Pandey and narrated by versatile actor Jimmy Shergill, the series is spread out into 4 episodes just like the test series (4 matches). Every episode covers one test match of the series.
The series builds a stunning climax at the end of the 4th episode when Rishabh Pant hits Josh Hazlewood for four in the long-off region to breach the fortress Gabba. Some Indian and Australian players including Ajinkya Rahane, R Ashwin, Tim Paine, and Rishabh Pant who were part of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2020-2021 cast in the series where they shared some deep insights of their respective teams.
Episode 1: Skyfall
An episode is full of drama & chaos similar to what was going on in the Adelaide Oval. Indian captain Virat Kohli was featured in his only test of the series because of the paternity leave afterward. The match was going India’s way till Ajinkya Rahane made a huge mistake by running his captain out who was set on 74.
Rahane reveals he was unable to cope with that run-out incident and he was under a lot of pressure. He believes that was the turning point in the match and truly. Having a lead of 53 in the first innings India thought they were ahead in the game but what followed next can never be forgotten by any Indian cricket fan.
Australian pacers’ fiery bowling resulted in India’s lowest score in test cricket. India was all out on a mere 36. Not even a single player crossed the 10-run mark individually. Every player and fan was shattered mentally. They never knew this was coming. That performance gave critics a full chance to open their mouths. Australia won the match easily. Kohli flew back to India and everyone predicted a 4-0 test series win for Australia. No one gave India a single chance.
With Kohli and Shami (injured) out of the series, India had to fill the gap of their test specialists. Ajinkya Rahane was the stand-in captain for the rest of the series. He had to fill the shoes of legendary captain Virat Kohli and had to make his team believe that they can come back in the series. A huge role on Rahane’s shoulder. It was the Boxing Day Test that followed the inaugural test of the series.
Episode 2: You Only Live Twice
26th December, boxing day is the biggest day in the Australian Sports Calendar. MCG hosts the boxing day test match every year. It is a contest between under-pressure India & host Australia that was going to attract the cricketing world towards it. Shubhman Gill & M Siraj wore the Indian test caps for the first time.
The director covers a few seconds of Siraj crying during the national anthem. He reveals that he was remembering his late father and got emotional. The match took dramatic turns just like the Australian weather, but captain Rahane’s iconic century stood apart from other performances. To fill the shoes of Virat Kohli and get a 100 after that 36-all-out incident tells how strong a player Ajinkya is, mentally.
Ashwin complained about the DRS system after Labuschagne’s LBW incident saying, “Many parts of the tour I felt like the virtual eye was also playing.” One more injury took place in the Indian camp when pacer Umesh Yadav faced some niggle while bowling in the second innings. The things were not in favor of Indian bowlers but a united bowling attack turned the things in favor of India. Rahane’s captaincy was spot on in the game.
India chased a mere 70 in the fourth innings to shut the mouth of every critic that claimed India will lose 4-0 without Virat Kohli. But this win will go down as one of the biggest comebacks by India overseas. The series was now leveled at 1-1 and it seemed to be a thrilling one after India won this match.
Episode 3: A View To Kill
After that satisfying win in Melbourne, players had a memorable time in the town celebrating the new year with teammates. But an incident happened that put allegations of violations of COVID-19 on a few Indian players. News spread out that they broke the rules of bio bubble by entering inside a restaurant but Rahane reveals that the bad weather
Forced the players to take shelter inside. The Australian captain found this incident “selfish” and Pat Cummins thought this was “annoying”. Rahane said the things were normal in Sydney (regarding COVID-19 rules) but the players were forced to be in quarantine, he thought the Australian government & board had started playing “mind games” after that shocking defeat at MCG. But somehow things went normal and the match began in Sydney. Steve Smith’s hundred & a big 94-run lead in the first innings put the hosts in the driver’s seat.
Jadeja got his thumb injured while batting in the first innings. Bone bruises to Rishabh Pant and stiff back to Ashwin also started creating tension in the Indian camp. One more blow for team India. Another shameful incident happened in Sydney when crowds started abusing Siraj calling him “brown dog” and making racist comments about the Indian. It was very brave of Siraj to complain about this and skipper Rahane asked the official to take action against them only then they’ll continue playing. Match took off again and it was a huge 407-run target for India to chase.
That chase can be defined in two different innings. One where Rishabh Pant went furious along with Pujara as they were eyeing to win the game. That was a brilliant partnership by experienced Pujara – who took around 10-15 body blows but still stood his ground – and fearless Pant- who played a fiery knock of 97. But as they both got out, the chase looked unachievable with injured Vihari, Ashwin, and Jadeja. Australians started bowling bodyline to Vihari and Ashwin. They both took heavy blows on their bodies but looked gritty and determined not to leave what it looked like, a battlefield.
Some chatter and banter also happened between Tim Paine and Ashwin which is documented very well for the viewers. They blocked everything that came their way and made an unbeaten partnership for around 43 overs to force an unbelievable draw. It was a special moment for the Indian team as this draw looked like a huge task to achieve.
The cricketing world praised the heroics of Vihari and Ashwin as well as of Pant & Pujara. The series was evenly poised at 1-1. Brisbane was set to host the deciding game of the series where Australians were almost unbeatable.
Episode 4: License To Kill
In a ground where Australia never lost a match since 1988, almost a second-choice Indian line was playing. T Natarajan who came on the tour as a net bowler went to make his test debut for India in that Gabba test. Washington Sundar also made his debut in that match. With Ashwin, Jadeja, and Bumrah out of the last match, it was all in all a whole new Indian bowling lineup with around 10 matches of experience in total. Statewide, it looked India will not be able to match the level of Australia. But it was coach Ravi Shastri & skipper Rahane who filled their lads with immense fire to fight the situation.
With Natarajan & Sundar taking 3 wickets both, India restricted Australia on 369. Indian batting struggled a lot and the score was 186-6. With 183 runs trailing, India was in huge trouble but every time they were in trouble, they somehow found new heroes to take up the challenge. It was Shardul Thakur & W Sundar this time.
Both youngsters made their maiden Test fifties. They played with character and grit to narrow down the Australian lead to just 33 runs. With N Saini also injured and unavailable to bowl, India came with a new hero on day 4 of the Gabba test, Mohammed Siraj. Having lost his father back in India, he decided to stay and fulfill his and his father’s dream of representing India. He bowled exceptionally well to take his first test-fifer.
Other bowlers also went ruthless and contributed their parts. India needed 328 runs to win a remarkable series. Experienced Rohit Sharma got out cheaply but young Gill and Pujara took charge of the game. The duo made a crucial partnership to put some pressure off from other batsmen. Pujara stood there like a soldier, kept on taking body blows, and made a brave fifty for the team.
Rishabh Pant went in and was ready to dominate the Aussies but the hosts were not ready to give up. The chase was tougher when the remaining overs came to the situation. Sundar played a crucial knock to support Rishabh Pant. Pant pre-planned his game against Nathan Lyon and was seriously dominating the Aussie legend.
Tension was there at its peak till the last moment of the game. When Rishabh Pant hit Hazelwood down the ground for four, it was the moment. That was a magical moment for Indian cricket. To breach Gabba with your 9 main players injured, that performance will go down as one of the best in cricketing history. “They were down, they were out and India has risen” perfectly put up by an English commentator. Sports is like life, it will keep on giving you heavy blows. It is up to you, whether to give up easily or get up again, stronger than before.
The emotion was visible on every Indian whether it was a player, staff, or fan. The energies of winning celebrations were unmatched. What the young guns did for the nation, nothing can beat that. This win told the world what the youth of India is capable of. They can have the worst of situations in front of them still they’ll rise. Waving the Indian flag in front of the crowd was very special as a doer as well as a spectator. It was just the most incredible series in Test cricket around nations. The whole cricketing world was full of praise for the courageous Indian team. Neeraj Pandey did exceptionally well to document this series into a very well-made web series. This was certainly ‘The Baap of all fightbacks’.
Cast: Ajinkya Rahane, Rishabh Pant, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ravichandran Ashwin, Pat Cummins, Tim Paine, Mohammed Siraj, Hanuma Vihari
Director: Neeraj Pandey