As India goes into the first Test in Adelaide starting Tuesday, let us look back some of the finest batting performances by Indian batsmen in Test matches Down Under over the past few series. Here is the first piece from the series of articles.
- Sachin Tendulkar (116, MCG 1999-00)
The series was a story of Sachin versus the Aussies. The Australian team was on course of attaining the Invincibles tag under Steve Waugh, it faced an Indian side which was one of the most inexperienced sides to travel Down Under. In the match at MCG, where the Indian batting failed miserably, Sachin scored a brilliant 116 in overcast conditions. The likes of McGrath, Lee, and Warne were treated with disdain on a challenging wicket for batting. It was an inning in which Tendulkar showed absolute authority and dominated the bowling with aplomb.
- Rahul Dravid (233, Adelaide 2003-04)
After Australia posted a mammoth 556 on the back of a Ricky Ponting double hundred, Indians were staring at follow on at 85 for 4. In all likelihood an innings defeat looked certain but Dravid stepped up to the occasion and hit a gritty 233, helping India not only to save follow on but also closing in on the Australian total. Dravid started off patiently with wickets falling at the other end, put a price on his wicket. His solid defence came to the forte and as the bowlers lost the grip, he cut loose. Dravid cut, drove, pulled, flicked and this knock gave India the chance to claw back into the match. Dravid went onto score an unbeaten 72 in the 2nd inning as India took a 1-0 lead in the series.
- VVS Laxman (148, Adelaide 2003-04)
In the same match, Laxman struck a crafty 148, batting with Dravid he stitched a 303-run partnership reviving memories of the Eden test match. continued his liking for Australians as he tormented them with his counter-attacking game. He toyed with the bowling as he used his wrists to a great effect and flicked the ball all over the on side to the ropes and when it was pitched up he drove handsomely through the covers. This knock was really crucial in the context of the match and helped India take the lead.
- Sourav Ganguly (144, Brisbane 2003-04)
When Ganguly walked out to bat at the Gabba, the script unfolded as expected with Indian batsmen struggling against a potent pace attack in testing conditions. But what happened thereafter transformed the whole complexion of the series. The Indian Captain took the attack to the Aussies as he scored a fighting 144 to help India draw the match. This inning was studded with some exquisite shots through he off sides as Ganguly amassed 18 boundaries. This was a fine example of a skipper leading from the front and his player did take a leaf out of this knock and played some tough cricket on that tour.
- Sachin Tendulkar (241*, Sydney 2003-04)
Unlike his previous tours Down Under, Sachin was having a miserable tour as he got out cheaply in the first three matches in unforgettable fashion and with the chips down Sachin walked out to bat in Sydney and played a knock with utmost discipline, without playing a single shot through the cover point region. Such was the quality of this knock that a decade down the line, Ganguly and Dravid hailed it as the most disciplined inning ever played where a batsman completely cut out a scoring zone. The Aussies tempted Sachin with volleys outside off stump but Sachin refused to give in and made the bowlers to his plans. More than 80% of his scoring was through the leg side.
Image credits : zimbio