Iconic Moments: India vs Australia in Tests

Mankaded, the final frontier, Shoulder Before Wicket and many more.





The Final Frontier Stands [2001]: This has got to be one of the greatest series ever played. Australia came into the series on the back of a 15-Test winning streak and their then captain Steve Waugh had declared India was his final unconquered bastion. And, when Australia thumped India by 10 wickets in Mumbai thanks to magnificent centuries by Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist with the bowlers coming to the party as well, it appeared as though Waugh would finally have his wish.

Things went from bad to worse for India as they were forced to follow-on at the Eden Gardens and were staring at yet another defeat after Steve Waugh had scored his first Test century on Indian soil. This was then the cue for VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid to script together one of the most brilliant comebacks in the history of Test cricket as the pair added a mammoth 376-run partnership for the fifth wicket in the India's second innings to take out the confidence from Australia and instil belief in their team. Laxman went on to score a majestic 281 with Dravid playing an equally great knock of 180. Set a target of 384 in 75 overs, Australia was bundled out for 212 with Harbhajan Singh finishing with match figures of 13-196. Harbhajan had taken a hat-trick in Australia's first innings with his victims being Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne.

India went on to win the series 2-1 as they won the third Test in Chennai by two wickets in another classic contest between the sides. The highlights of this Test were Hayden's 203 in the Australian first innings, Sachin Tendulkar's 126 and half-centuries by SS Das, S Ramesh, Laxman and Dravid that helped the hosts take an important first innings lead of 110 runs. Harbhajan, who was having a dream run in this series, took 15 wickets in Chennai. Hayden with 549 runs in the series cemented his place in the Australian team, while Harbhajan with 32 wickets (and scoring the winning brace above) was the runaway star with the ball in the series.

This, arguably, is India’s finest achievement in Test cricket given it was against a team at the very peak of its powers.

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