When one thinks of cricket in India, there are three stadiums that stand out – Wankhede in Mumbai, Eden Gardens in Kolkata and Chinnaswamy in Bangalore. Along with being few of the oldest cricket venues of the country, they also are among the best five.
Each of them has seen some memorable tests, ODIs, T20 internationals and even IPL matches. These venues embody something greater than just a sport – they have a soul and an unwavering spirit of cricket buried deep into their grounds. When one goes there as a spectator, he feels different. When one goes there as a player, he wants to be different.
The Chinnaswamy stadium is special. Today, as India take guard on the very same pitch against a tough Australian team that has a tight hold on the match, they might want to take inspiration from this list of the best moments from Indians at the Chinnaswamy stadium in tests against the Kangaroos.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar’s 214, 2010
Can we ever talk about top moments for Indian Cricket without mentioning Sachin Tendulkar’s name? Unsurprisingly, like most lists, one finds his name at the top of this list too.
Chasing Australia’s first innings total of a mammoth 478, Tendulkar dug in to score his second double century of the year and his sixth overall. It proved to be the last double century of his test career.
The greatness of this performance can be asserted from the fact a poll carried by an Australian newspaper the very next morning read, is Sachin Tendulkar the best batsman ever?
83% of the voters confirmed it with a yes. The fact that this poll came from the land of Don Bradman says legions about this innings from Tendulkar.
The best thing about the master blaster’s knock was the ease and efficiency with which he batted throughout the length of his innings. He reached his century with a six and continued to blister past the Aussies without a smidge of doubt in his stroke play.
This emphatic display of batting from the maestro ensured that India could overtake Australia’s first innings score, scoring a total of 495 runs. Tendulkar finally fell at 486, when the hosts had already gathered an eight-run lead.
Tendulkar also scored an unbeaten 53 in the fourth innings to take the test match for India. He was awarded Man of the Match for his herculean effort.
#2 Anil Kumble’s 400th test wicket, 2004
If Indian batting had Tendulkar, its bowling had Anil Kumble. In a sport and in a country where batsmen are fawned over, Kumble weaved his own fairytale.
On batsmen-friendly pitches and in seaming-swinging conditions, he kept chipping in and pinching his way through batting line-ups on a consistent basis.
Anil Kumble was the ultimate touchstone of aggression, precision and sheer consistency. It was fitting that the combination of all of them led to him getting his 400th test wicket in his hometown, on his own turf. Of course, the wicket that he took was an important one – he removed a dangerous looking Simon Katich in the tea session of day one.
Although Australia won the match by a huge margin, the Kumble-led Indian bowlers did not disappoint. The leg-spinner took 5 wickets through the length of the match.
Now, as Kumble returns to this very venue as the head coach of the team, can he create the same impact from the outside?
#3 Cheteshwar Pujara’s test debut, 2010
India’s current no. 3 should get motivation from the fact that his classy fifty in the fourth innings of the test match sealed a memorable test for India. As Pujara struggles to make it big today, his old self would like to remind him of what the Saurashtra batsman is capable of.
Playing against a dangerous Mitchell Johnson, he was bundled out for just 4 in the first innings. Touted as a steady batsman who could fill the big shoes of Rahul Dravid, Pujara came out to bat at no. 5 in the 1st innings. However, chasing a tricky target of 207, Pujara was unexpectedly promoted to no. 3 in the 4th innings.
He stepped up.
Not only did he score a fifty, but his 57-run stand with Tendulkar was paramount in guiding India past the finishing line. Virender Sehwag’s early wicket had put considerable pressure on the hosts but the debutant soaked in it to manifest a class act.
Walking out at a score of 17-1, he scored 72 off 129 balls to get the second highest 4th innings score by an Indian on debut.
#4 Harbhajan Singh’s test debut, 1998
It’s quite interesting that Harbhajan Singh’s debut was scripted against Australia, the team he gave his most memorable performances against. Although he took just two wickets over the course of the match, it marked the debut of one of India’s best bowlers and a player who always competed with his heart on his sleeve.
Australia won the test by 8 wickets and looked menacing throughout the test. Mark Waugh scored a giant 153 in Australia’s first innings and Mark Taylor scored a 102 to chase a target of 195 in the 4th innings of the match.
Bhajji clinched Greg Blewett's wicket in the first innings and also removed Shane Warne, just as he had started to settle in. Singh could not create an impact in the second innings but managed to show some spark in the match.
Harbhajan Singh ended up with over 400 test wickets and over 250 ODI wickets for India. His right arm off-break clinched 7 five-fors and 3 ten-fors against the Australians.
#5 NS Yadav - 7 Wickets on debut, 1979
Nandlal Shivlal Yadav might not be a big name in Indian cricket, but he sure as hell made his mark against the mighty Australians and that too, in his debut match. He took 4 Australian wickets in the first innings and big names like Allan Border and Graham Yallop were two of his victims. He also helped in clearing out the Kangaroos’ tail in the first innings.
He was the only wicket taker in Australia’s third innings as he clipped Andrew Hilditch, Graham Wood and Border in quick succession. He also played a major role in India’s victory against Australia in the next test, where he picked 6 wickets. Yadav got rid of three batsmen in quick succession to ensure that Australia were bundled up for a 125 while chasing 279 in the 4th innings.
Most international players come and go without making a mark in history. But Yadav ensured that his debut match, as well as his debut series, were good enough to be remembered in the history of India-Australia matches.
Yadav played 35 tests and 7 ODIs for India, claiming a total of 110 wickets.