With just a month left for India tour down under, Here is the list of Top 5 India vs Australia Test matches in the last decade –
#1 Eden Gardens, 2001 –
After having been thrashed in the first Test at Mumbai, India arrived in Kolkata low on confidence, hoping to remain alive in the series by securing a win. The Australians on the other hand, were looking for a record 16th consecutive Test win. That win looked very near when the Australian bowlers wrapped up India’s 1st innings on the morning of the 3rd day, thereby gaining a lead of 274 runs.
But that’s when one of cricket’s greatest comebacks in cricket began. VVS Laxman, who had hit a 50 in the 1st innings, was promoted up to number 3 in the batting order in the second innings and in the company of Rahul Dravid, added 376 runs for the 5th wicket to bring India back into the game. The duo batted throughout the entire fourth day, showing great determination and admirable composure in the middle.Laxman finished on 281 while Dravid scored 180.
Set to chase 384 in the second innings, Australia were comfortably placed at 106 for 1 when Justin Langer’s wicket triggered a collapse. Harbhajan Singh, who had picked up India’s first ever Test hat-trick in the first innings, ripped through the Australian middle-order and got support from Sachin Tendulkar as the duo wreaked havoc. When last man Glenn McGrath was given LBW off the bowling of Harbhajan, the 100,000 present at Eden Gardens erupted in joy as did the 11 men on the field.
It was only the third instance where a team had won a Test match after been asked to follow-on and it also ended Austalia’s 16-match winning streak.
#2 Adelaide, 2003 –
Australia had put on a massive score of 556 in their first innings, thanks to Ricky Ponting’s majestic 242.
India were in trouble at 85 for 4 when VVS Laxman joined Rahul Dravid at the crease. The duo batted beautifully on a belter at Adelaide. They put on 303 for the 5th wicket before Laxman was out on 148, but Dravid carried on, playing wonderful cricketing shots throughout his innings. He was the last man to fall for a magnificent 233 as India handed a 33-run lead to the Australians.
In the 2nd innings Ajit Agarkar bowled the spell of his life to pick up 6 Australian wickets. He was well-supported by Sachin Tendulkar, who picked up 2 crucial wickets of Steve Waugh and Damien Martyn as the Aussies were bundled out for just 196, with a lead of 229.Coming out to bat in the fourth innings, India needed someone to play a composed innings and remain till the end to secure the win. Rahul Dravid picked up from exactly where he had left in the first innings, playing the much-needed innings that his side wanted, to register a memorable win. He shared critical stands with Tendulkar and Laxman and finished off the match with a four off Stuart MacGill to script an epic win for India. India shared the series(1-1) in Australia, a great achievement during that time for any team, against the best team in the world.
#3 Wankhede, 2004 –
The 4th Test of 2004-05 series lasted just two and a half days, India were playing with 3 spinners Harbhajan Kumble and Murali Kartik. The play started at 2pm after rain delay. India were bundled out for 104 in their first innings thanks to an all round bowling performance by the Aussies. Australia in reply scored 203 in their first innings with Martyn scoring 55, Indian spinners taking 9 wickets.
In 2nd innings India were batting pretty well and were 182-4, before Michael Clarke who was playing his First Test series bowled superbly by taking 6 wickets for just 9 runs,for India Laxman scored 69 and Sachin scored 55.Australia were set a target of 106, but in turn they were all out for 93, with Harbhajan taking 5 wickets. India won by just 13 runs. Murali kartik was declared man of the match for his 7 wickets in the match, Damien Martyn was the man of the series. Australia won the 4 match series 2-1.
#4 Perth, 2008 –
Coming into Perth after the monkey-gate controversy in Sydney, India had thing or two to prove to everyone.
Opting to bat first, Virender Sehwag set the tone, giving his side a blazing start. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar shared a 139-run stand for the third wicket before Tendulkar was out for 71. All other Indian batsmen failed to put any score of substance and India eventually folded up for 330 runs.
The Indian bowlers put up an exceptional new ball burst with Irfan Pathan, RP Singh and especially Ishant Sharma, breaking the backbone of the Australian batting line-up.
Andrew Symonds and Adam Gilchrist then led the fightback for the Aussies with a 102-run stand before the former became Anil Kumble’s 600th Test victim.
The Australians were bowled out for 212, handing India a lead of 118 runs.
In the second innings, India got off to a steady start with Irfan Pathan leading the way with a crucial 46, batting at 3. However, it was 2 partnerships, first between VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni and second between Laxman and RP Singh that helped India set a target of 413 for the Australians in the fourth innings. Laxman once again proving to be the thorn in Australia’s flesh, scoring a critical 79.
The fourth innings of this Test match will never be forgotten for the spell bowled by Ishant Sharma to Ricky Ponting. The Delhi pacer had the Australian captain hopping and jumping during his entire stay in the middle and eventually got him caught at first slip by Dravid. The Indians kept picking up crucial wickets at regular intervals to stay on top in the game.
However, some lusty hitting from Mitchell Johnson and Stuart Clark did raise hopes of an Australian win but it proved to be an uphill task for both of them and when RP Singh got the last wicket of Shaun Tait, it sparked wild celebrations in the Indian camp.
They had become the first team from Asia to win in Perth and once again bring to an end Australia’s 16-match winning streak.
#5 Mohali, 2010
Batting first, the Aussies scored a healthy 428 all out with Shane Watson top scoring with 126. India, led by contributions from Rahul Dravid and Suresh Raina, ended up with 405 in their first innings.
The Indian bowlers then bowled exceedingly well to dismiss the Aussies for 192, leaving the hosts to chase a target of 216 to go 1-0 up in the 2-match series.
However, India’s second innings was off to a disastrous start, losing 5 wickets for 76 runs. VVS Laxman came out to bat at no. 7, despite having a sore back and lost 2 more batsmen at the other end. With the scoreboard now reading 124 for 8, Ishant Sharma joined Laxman in the middle. The two played cautiously, scoring the odd boundary and picking up the ones and twos on other occasions. As the partnership began to build, the chances of an incredible Indian win started to look more and more likely.
However, when Ishant fell, India still required 11 runs and only Pragyan Ojha left to bat. The two Hyderabadi batsmen batted assuredly despite some hesitations and when Ojha tucked one on his pads for 2 leg-byes, an extraordinary win was achieved. Another Laxman special against Australia.
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