Sydney: Australian captain Ricky Ponting has said India has proven a worthy challenger to Australian supremacy in the game.
"They have proved they are the No. 2 Test side in the world," Ponting said after the fourth Test at the Adelaide Oval ended in a draw on Monday.
The final day of the series was all about farewells: Test cricket's farewell to Gilchrist and Australia's farewell to five Indian champions — Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly, V V S Laxman and India's proud captain, Anil Kumble.
But there was also evidence that the absorbing rivalry between the two superpowers of world cricket was in good hands, in the battle between Sehwag and Brett Lee.
The Australian speedster was last night named man of the series for his 24 wickets — confirming the 31-year-old's graduation to the leader of the new-generation Australian attack. Sehwag scored a magnificent 151 and the next highest score in the Indian innings was 20 by Mahender Singh Dhoni.
Though the series has been marred by a racism controversy and an argument over the Australians' sportsmanship after the Sydney Test, outgoing Australian wicket-keeper batsman Adam Gilchrist last night said the rivalry between Australia and India was in good health.
"There is a great rivalry there and hopefully we can keep it healthy," The Age quoted Gilchrist, as saying.
Gilchrist hugged each of his teammates when the bails were tipped off at 5.26pm, seized a stump and lifted his cherished baggy green cap to the Adelaide Oval crowd, which stood to applaud him from the field.
The Indian players lined up to shake the hand of a great entertainer. He lingered the longest with Tendulkar and then walked into the arms of his family, with whom he will now spend more time.