Come-from-behind wins are always special in Test cricket. Like many a cricket writer has said before, you cannot help but romanticise the game and never does it get more romantic than when a team defies all odds and comes from behind to win the game.
India have done exceptionally well over the last five years especially at home, given they had to deal with an exodus of greats and were in a transitional phase. While the previous decade will be remembered for wins at the Adelaide Oval, Mumbai and Kolkata, the present decade has racked up its own set of gems.
Batsmen like Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli have delivered along with bowlers like Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja. A quality that wasn’t associated with the Indian team in the 90s is now one of its defining traits – the ability to keep coming back from the dead to pull off sensational wins.
Here are five of India’s great come-from-behind wins since 2010, showing the character this team possesses.
#1 Bengaluru, 2017 v Australia
This will go down as one of India’s greatest home wins given the context. They were drubbed in the first Test at Pune where they were dismissed in both innings for paltry totals, and in Bangalore, for the third time in a row in the series, got dismissed for under 200.
Batting first after winning the toss, India were all out for 189, with Nathan Lyon picking up figures of 8/50. Australia took command by scoring 276 and claiming a valuable 87-run lead. At one point, they were 269 for 6, but through a good bowling effort, India clawed their way back into the match, cleaning up the lower order and picking up four wickets in the space of six overs for just seven runs. Jadeja starred with 6/63.
In their second innings, India showed grit and gumption, with Rahane and Pujara putting on the first century-stand of the series. The duo stayed put at the crease to ensure the first wicket-less session of the series. It meant that despite a collapse on the fourth day when India went from 238 for 4 to 274 all out, they set Australia a tough target of 188.
The Aussies were all out for 112 in the 36th over, with Ravichandran Ashwin picking 6/41. KL Rahul picked up the Player of the Match trophy for his two half-centuries under pressure on an extremely tough pitch.
#2 Bengaluru, 2012 v New Zealand
It is never easy to stay in a match after conceding a big first innings score. That is what India did in 2012 in the second Test of the series against New Zealand.
The visitors scored a hefty 365 in just 90.1 overs, thanks to Ross Taylor’s 127-ball 113. In their first innings, India were under serious pressure at 27 for 2 and later at 80 for 4. But Kohli scored a magnificent century to first add 99 with Suresh Raina for the sixth wicket and then 122 with MS Dhoni for the seventh wicket. Despite that, India were all out for 353 to concede a lead of 12 runs to New Zealand.
In the second innings, New Zealand scored 248 setting India a target of 261, which India chased with great ease, scoring the runs in 63.2 overs and winning the Test by five wickets. Player of the Match Kohli scored an unbeaten half-century to guide the Indians home.
#3 Lord’s, 2014 v England
In the second Test of the Pataudi Trophy, India began with a decent 295 in their first innings. They started their innings extremely poorly, but the fight back came in the form of an Ajinkya Rahane century that took them from 145 for 7 to 295.
Despite that, India conceded a 24-run first innings lead as England scored 319, with Gary Ballance scoring a century. India put up an excellent show in their second innings, scoring 342.
What was laudable was the lower-order stand that took India from 203 for 6 and later 235 for 7 to 334 for 8. A 99-run partnership between Jadeja and Kumar, both of whom scored valuable half-centuries ensured the Indians got to a respectable total. Chasing 319, England were all-out for 223 with Ishant Sharma picking up 7-74, giving India a memorable win at the Mecca of cricket.
#4 Mohali, 2010 v Australia
In the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, India conceded a massive first innings total of 428 to Australia with Shane Watson scoring a century. India replied with a credible 405, giving away a handy 23-run lead to Australia. Sachin Tendulkar missed out on a century, scoring 98 and adding 124 for the fifth wicket with Suresh Raina who scored 86.
Australia were all out for 192 in the second innings. That in itself was laudable considering their openers had added 87. Australia went from 154 for 4 to 170 for 8, eventually setting India a target of 216.
In the see-saw Test, India were in great trouble during the chase at 76 for 5 and then at 124 for 8. However, VVS Laxman added 81 for the ninth wicket with Ishant Sharma. Laxman scored an unbeaten 79-ball 73, while Sharma battled out 92 deliveries for his 31. In a scintillating finish, Dhoni’s side scored 216, holding on by the skin of their teeth and winning the match by just one wicket.
#5 Delhi, 2011 v West Indies
West Indies won the toss and chose to bat at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium. Buoyed by a 118-run innings from Shivnarine Chanderpaul, they scored 304 in their first innings. The Indian batting failed in their first innings as they went from 89 for no loss to 209 all out.
In fact, they would have been dismissed for much cheaper had Ishant Sharma and Rahul Dravid not added a very handy 49 runs for the eighth wicket, taking India from 154 for 7 to 203 before the team lost three quick wickets. India ended up conceding a lead of 96 runs, a massive one in the sub-continent.
However, the Indian bowling was terrific in the third innings as Ashwin picked up 6/47 and West Indies were skittled out for 180, Darren Sammy scoring an invaluable 37-ball 42 at No. 9. India managed the 276-run chase excellently thanks to half-centuries from Sehwag, Sachin and Laxman, and eventually pulled off a five-wicket win.