Mar 06, 2008 at 08:32am IST

Grand homecoming awaits Wizards of Oz

New Delhi: Triumph seals the summer of controversies as Mahendra Singh Dhoni's Devils return home from Australia to a heroes welcome on Tuesday after the historic tri-series win against Australia.

Beating the mighty Australians in their own very backyard was like a barrier transcended, a mountain conquered, incredibly by a young team India with an average age of 22 years.

These towering Australians were suddenly dwarfed to an extent that one almost felt guilty savouring the famous victory.

NUMBER WON: Sreesanth, right, Manoj Tiwary, center, and Rohit Sharma celebrate their victory over Australia.

But perhaps Ricky Ponting’s words summed it all up. “The credit for this victory goes to India. They played well and outplayed us."

In the past two weeks the Australian team played many games - and as Kumble said not so long ago - not always cricket.

And the man at the receiving end of most of them was ecstatic and relieved too. “It’s a great feeling, a big relief and now hopefully everything will be fine now,” Harbhajan Singh said.

At the end of it the visuals from Brisbane were overwhelming: Team India did it all from carrying glory and greatness, to monkey dancing on field, to coming together in the famous huddle, repeating the unity chant.

For a cricket crazy nation, the win is personal to a billion individuals, each one playing his part in the script, sometimes turning a superstition into a sacrifice.

Like youngster Praveen Kumar’s brother. " I stayed away from the game as each time I watch cricket, India loses,” he said.

In the end, the great win gave a sense of life beyond the self, in another devotee's words: "Oh, Lord, if I must die today. Please make it after close of play. For this I know, if nothing more. I will not go, without the score".

In Brisbane, the final score reinforced faith in the Men in Blue.