In the last part of the series, Partab Ramchand looks at the 2004 Mumbai Test, which will be remembered for its low scores.
Even if there was little at stake – with Australia having already wrapped up the Test series before arriving at the Wankhede stadium for the fourth and final Test – this match will be remembered for its low scores, tantalizing fortunes, thrilling finish and the fact that it was over in virtually two days playing time on a viciously turning track.
Play did not get underway until 2 pm on the first day and lasted just four overs before it was delayed again until 4.30 when the players returned for another half hour. On the second day the Indians collapsed against Jason Gillespie (4 for 29) and off spinner Nathan Hauritz (3 for 16) making his Test debut after Shane Warne was ruled out through injury.
Rahul Dravid, captaining the side in the absence of the injured Sourav Ganguly, top scored with an unbeaten 31, but a total of 104 seemed woefully inadequate even if Australia had to bat last on a wicket that was already playing tricks.
The experienced Matthew Hayden got 35 and the in form Damien Martyn made a pleasing 55 as Australia replied with 203 seemingly a match winning lead of 99 on a track turning square the figures of Anil Kumble (5 for 90) and Murali Kartik (4 for 44) underlining this.
On the third day, the first half century partnership of the match was notched up with Sachin Tendulkar (55) and VVS Laxman (69) adding 91 runs for the third wicket, a commendable feat on this surface. At 182 for four, India seemed to be coming back strongly into the match before a devastating spell by part time left arm spinner Michael Clarke turned the innings inside out. Clarke took six for nine in 6.2 overs as India slid sharply to 205 all out leaving Australia with an apparently modest victory target of 107.
But by now the pitch had absolutely deteriorated and Harbhajan (5 for 29) and Kartik (3 for 32) really worked havoc. In an unbelievable finish the formidable Aussie batting line up were shot out for 93 in 30.5 overs – their lowest total in Tests in this country - leaving India totally unexpected winners by 13 runs.