Despite the eventual eight-wicket margin, the ICC Under 19 Cricket World Cup Final was an intriguing contest packed full of incident. Here are 10 moments that defined the match.
1. Sangha snicks behind
After a fast start – Australia had raced to 32/0 in just five overs – India had pegged their opponents back by dismissing both openers. But Jason Sangha is fast developing a reputation as a man for a rescue act, and after a solid, if slow, start, he seemed set to save his side. It took a spectacular catch from wicket-keeper Harvik Desai to get rid of him.
2. Merlo nails the reverse
Having initially looked nervy against the spinners – he was dropped on nought – Jonathan Merlo decided to try and sweep his way to success. It seemed it might be a short-lived strategy when he tried to reverse sweep Abhishek Sharma and was struck on the pad. But in the next over Sharma bowled Merlo backed himself and tried the stroke again, this time nailing it through point. He would play 14 sweeps and reverse sweeps in total, the strokes producing 22 runs, and won his personal battle with India’s spinners.
3. The partnership breaker
Param Uppal looked a much more natural player of spin than Merlo, all wrists and manipulation, and it took an excellent piece of bowling to dismiss him, Anukul Roy holding back his pace, getting Uppal to play early as he tried to work to leg, and snaffling up the leading edge. It ended a dangerous 75-run stand, and put India decisively in the ascendancy. From then, they never let the advantage slip.
4. The reverse nails Merlo
Australia had laid a platform of 183/4, and though they slipped to 212/6, with Merlo at the crease they still had 250 in their sights. But having batted so well for 76, he played one reverse sweep too many, getting a top edge to the man on the boundary. Australia folded for 216.
5. Kalra settles the nerves
Australia had made a steady start to defending their target, with Zak Evans in particular, getting the ball to move away off the seam and conceding just one run from his first eight deliveries. But as he bowled his ninth his leg clipped the stumps, resulting in a no-ball and a free hit which Manjot Kalra launched miles over long-on. India didn’t look back.
6. Shaw cut short
By the time India’s first wicket fell, they already had 71 runs on the board and were well set to chase 217. But it was still a significant moment for a number of reasons – it was the first time Shaw had been dismissed for less than 40 in the tournament and ensured he would end the competition without a century. It was also a peach, Will Sutherland getting the ball to move away and cannon into the top of off and middle stump.
7. Ending the streak
Before today, the consensus was that India’s middle order had yet to succeed in a pressure situation, but this dismissal ensured they would have to if they were to claim the title. It was another excellent piece of bowling, Param Uppal getting the ball to grip and beat the bat of the advancing Shubman Gill, and it left India 131/2, still needing 86 runs for victory. It also ensured Gill wouldn’t finish the tournament as its leading run-scorer.
8. Desai is dropped
Having dropped three catches in the first innings, Indian wicket-keeper Harvik Desai was himself the beneficiary of a slice of fortune when batting, though the chance he survived was the hardest of the lot as Nathan McSweeney sprinted backwards, dived, and just got fingertips on a top-edged slog-sweep. It would be harsh to criticise the fielder, but defending a small total against a formidable batting line-up it felt as if everything needed to stick. When this didn’t it confirmed it wouldn’t be Australia’s day.
9. Kalra tons up just in time
The result was long decided, but the game retained interest since the matter of whether Kalra would reach his hundred was yet to be, and as the gap between the runs India and he needed narrowed, it appeared he might be stranded. His reaction upon crossing the landmark was fierce and emotional, fuelled by almost missing out on the day, having missed out when seemingly set earlier in the tournament, and most of all because he had won a World Cup final for his team.
10. That winning feeling
Just three balls after Kalra completed his hundred, Desai sealed victory by carving to the point boundary, sparking wild celebrations, his teammates having long been camped on the edge of the boundary in anticipation. Late into the night, the party didn't look like stopping.