Raising the excitement in both the countries, India’s much-awaited home Test series against Australia is now a week away. Steven Smith and co. will not face an ordinary challenge; they will be up against an unstoppable Indian side, boasting six consecutive series wins. A win against this Indian side looks highly difficult, but if Australia triumph in Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2017, it will be marked as one of their greatest victories in recent times.
The Virat Kohli-led Indian team has been at its peak, and are undefeated in the last 19 Tests. The last time Australia toured India under the leadership of Michael Clarke, the visitors were whitewashed 4-0; it has been 48 years since Australia won a Test series on Indian soil.
Before Kohli and Smith lock horns in the four-Test series, starting February 23 in Pune, let’s look back at India’s five memorable Test wins against these opponents.
#1 Melbourne 1981
India toured Australia for a three-Test series and as expected, the visitors lost the opening Test before they pulled off a narrow draw in the second game. While the Australian squad had the likes of Greg Chappell, Rodney Marsh, Kim Hughes, Doug Walters and Dennis Lillee in their camp, India’s strength lay in Sunil Gavaskar, Gundappa Vishwanath and Kapil Dev.
India batted first and managed just 237 runs on the board, courtesy of Vishwanath’s 114. In reply, Australia took a lead of 182 runs when they finished with a total of 419 runs. When India came out to bat for the second time in the game, a few controversies came along – the most famous one being Gavaskar’s threat of walking off along Chetan Chauhan and forfeit the match.
After the situation was handled by the Indian managers, the match resumed and India set a mere target of 143 for the hosts. However, what followed next was one of the biggest shocks in cricket. The Australian side that had dominated that era was bowled out for an embarrassing 83 and thereby giving India a historic 59-run victory.
#2 Kolkata 2001
Few young Indian fans would be aware of India’s epic comeback in the 1981 Test against Australia at Melbourne Cricket Ground; the rest think of the Eden Gardens victory in 2001 when one talks about India’s comebacks in Tests.
The Test is cherished for the historic 376-run stand of VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid that brought India back into the game. Australia posted a massive total of 445, courtesy of Matthew Hayden’s 97 and Steve Waugh’s 110, before Glenn McGrath and co. bowled the Indians out for a mere 171. The follow-on was enforced and India came out to bat again.
India had lost the opening Test at Mumbai and was well on its way to trail 0-2. But Dravid and Laxman had other ideas for Waugh and his boys. Laxman became the first Indian to go past 250 runs in a Test innings and eventually was dismissed for 281 while Dravid scored 180. On the final day, Australia was given a target of 384 runs, and in a major turnaround in the match, Harbhajan Singh’s 6-fer along with Sachin Tendulkar’s three wickets helped India win the match by 171 runs.
#3 Adelaide 2003
The match of double tons! Australian captain Ricky Ponting helped his side to 556 runs in the first innings with an elegant 242 runs. What followed was another Dravid-Laxman show as the duo put up 303 runs for the fifth wicket. Dravid scored 233 runs, while Laxman was caught behind for 148 runs.
Ajit Agarkar’s 6-fer helping India dismiss the hosts for 196 before they had almost two days to chase the target of 230 runs. Once again, Dravid stepped up after the openers failed to give India the perfect start. He top-scored with 72 as the visitors marched to a superb four-wicket victory in the Test.
#4 Perth 2008
Dravid, who had a habit of performing well against Australia, once again played a significant role in India’s victory. Following the early dismissals of the Indian openers, the ‘Wall of Indian cricket’ batted for 278 minutes, scoring 93 runs along with Tendulkar, who managed to score 72 runs.
Meanwhile, Australia were bowled out for 212 runs and gave India a lead of 118 runs. In the third innings, Laxman’s 79 aided India in reaching 294 and they set Australia a target of 413 runs with almost three days remaining in the match.
However, a collective effort from the Indian bowlers ended the game inside four days and therefore sealed the match by 72 runs.
#5 Mohali 2010
It was the match that made every Australian fan hate VVS Laxman, if they hadn’t already.
Shane Watson’s 126 and Tim Paine’s 92 helped Australia post a total of 428 in the first innings. In reply, India were bundled out for 405 runs.
Zaheer Khan and co. were at their best as they dismissed Australia for 192 which meant India had a target of 216 runs with two days in hand. Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger dismantled the Indian batting order, but the stubborn Laxman stood tall.
He batted for 182 minutes watching the wickets fall at the other end. Towards the end he received some support from Ishant Sharma, who put up 81 runs with him for the ninth wicket. Laxman’s 73 not out led India to a magnificent one-wicket victory.