India's best batting performances against Australia

Innings that matter: Laxman's 281, Dravid's 180 and the others.

Most batting performances are seen in an innings context, which is highly inadequate as that is such an incomplete picture. Since the DNA of Test cricket is Test matches made up of two innings, and those matches are in turn part of a series, the big picture is the series – that is the war, as it were. Test matches are battles, an innings merely a phase in a battle.

To provide this context to cricket performances, we bring you the five best Test batting performances in a match/series context, in the history of India-Australia Test cricket. Most of these will perhaps not be a surprise but their order may be.

All of them are Series-Defining performances (which explains why seemingly larger performances, like Tendulkar in Sydney 2004, or Gavaskar in Sydney 1986 do not make it on this list), which gives them values higher than what their Match IMPACT numbers say.

NOTE: In a career context, all Match IMPACT numbers over 5 are brought down to 5 – however the value they carry due to their series impact are carried forward, and tallied when career numbers are calculated.

1. VVS Laxman59 & 281 v Australia, Kolkata 2001

Match Batting IMPACT: 11.92

Brief Scores: Aus 445 & 212, Ind 171 & 657/7 – India won by 171 runs, Series 2-1 India


Runs Tally

Innings Start


Strike Rate

Partnership Building

Innings IMPACT















It is hard to imagine any batting performance having a higher impact in Test cricket history. The facts around this performance are as legendary as the performance itself. 16 consecutive world-record wins for Australia who are 1-0 up in the 3-Test series, Australia make 445, India 171. VVS Laxman coming in at 88 for 4 in the first innings, which soon becomes 129 for 9, playing the only substantial innings – a fluent 59 off 83 balls, with an unbelievable twelve boundaries (in the context of the game, where run-scoring seems so difficult).

India follow on, Laxman promoted up the order comes in at 52 for 1. 556 more runs would be scored, bowlers like McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and Kasprowicz would be thwarted like never before, or since, more than ten hours of play would transpire - before Laxman finally would get out for 281 off 452 balls – 44 boundaries in them. We’re keeping the romance out of this (enough has been written on this in that vein) – the facts are spine-tingling enough – from being 222 behind when Laxman walked in, to being 384 ahead when he got out -  no one has traversed a journey this long, and this deep, in Indian cricket history.

It’s a rags-to-riches cricket story – as his team went on to win the next Test and the series. And changed the course of Indian cricket history.


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