A TRIP DOWN MEM­ORY LANE

The Economic Times - - Sports: The Great Games - Bo­ria Ma­jum­dar

A look back at some of the most mem­o­rable Test matches be­tween In­dia and Aus­tralia

When grow­ing up there was some­thing ev­ery young cricket col­lec­tor wanted to pos­sess. Flicker books, which had ones f avou r it e crick­eters strik­ing a bat­ting or bowl­ing pose best en­joyed with a fast f lip of the book. In­dia ver­sus Aus­tralia Test matches con­sti­tutesa very rich flicker book of sorts. Be it a gritty 30 not out from Chandu Borde in­1964­tow­inIn­diathe­con­test­toa­m­ag­i­cal 281 from VVS Lax­man to a bril­liant burst from Harb­ha­jan Singh not to for­get VVS Lax­man’s hero­ics with Pragyan Ojha in towin2010,itisin­deeda­con­test­that­brings out the best from play­ers of both teams. Steve Smith is right in say­ing his play­ers will be con­sid­ered true greats of the game if they win against Vi­rat’s In­dia in In­dia.

As the two teams get ready to bat­tle out the four Test se­ries, here is a look back on some of the most mem­o­rable In­di­aAus­tralia con­tests played on In­dian soil.

1959-60: JASU PA­TEL, THE STAR FOR IN­DIA

Though In­dia lost the se­ries 1-2, it was a much bet­ter re­sult in com­par­i­son with the dis­as­trous tour of Eng­land in 1959. Jesu Pa­tel was the star for the In­di­ans with his 14 wick­ets in the Kan­pur Test. Tak­ing full ad­van­tage of a poor wicket, Pa­tel ran through the Aus­tralians af­ter they were off to a good start and were sit­ting pretty at 128/1 chas­ing a poor In­dian first in­nings score of 152. In­dia did bet­ter in the sec­ond in­nings and left Aus­tralia to chase down 225, which was near im­pos­si­ble on a de­te­ri­o­rat­ing pitch. Even­tu­ally, Aus­tralia was bowled out for 105 and the In­di­ans won the match by 119 runs. This was In­dia’s first vic­to­rya­gain­st­theAus­traliansandPa­tel’s 14 for 124 re­mained the best Test bowl­ing fig­ures­byanIn­di­an­bowler­forn­ear­lythirty years un­til Naren­dra Hir­wani picked 16 wick­ets against the West Indies in 1987. Playin­gare­al­ly­good­sup­port­ing­hand­was Polly Um­ri­gar, who fin­ished with match fig­ures of 25-11-27-4.

1964: DE­FEAT­ING AUS­TRALIA IN BOM­BAY IN A THRILLER

In the words of Vi­jay Mer­chant: “What a thrilling match we had at the Brabourne Sta­dium against Aus­tralia! Not for a long

time has it been my priv­i­lege to wit­ness a match in which for­tunes fluc­tu­ated not merely from day-to-day but even from ses­sion to ses­sion. It was one of the most thrilling fin­ishes I have ever wit­nessed. Matches of this na­ture and such fluc­tu­at­ing for­tunes lift the game far above par­ti­san­ship and a spirit of ri­valry. At the Brabourne Sta­dium, be­lieve me, it did not mat­ter on that mem­o­rable day, Oc­to­ber 15, 1964 whether it was In­dia who won the match or Aus­tralia…In the last over (of the match) from Veivers a beau­ti­ful cover drive and then a hard push to the on by Borde en­abled In­dia to reg­is­ter her sec­ond vic­tory against Aus­tralia…Not for a long time­shall­we­for­get­this­match-per­hap­s­the great­est at the Brabourne Sta­dium.”

2001: MIR­A­CLE AT EDEN

Facts be­fore the start of the third day of the sec­ond Test:

Steve Waugh’s Aus­tralians had won 16 Test matches in a row.

In­dia had been dec­i­mated in a lit­tle over than three days at the Wankhede Sta­dium in Mum­bai.

Aus­tralia had put up a mam­moth 445 in the first in­nings at Cal­cutta.

In­dia was reel­ing at 128-8 at the end of the sec­ond day.

What fol­lowed still ap­pears un­be­liev­able. An­drewS­tod­dartinthe19th­cen­tury;Mike Brear­ley in the 20th and Sourav Gan­guly in the 21st cen­tury. Only twice be­fore had a team risen to erase the ig­nominy of fol­low­ing-on with a spec­tac­u­lar vic­tory.

This was cer­tainly the most stun­ning come­back­inTestcrick­ethis­tory.Manofthe MatchVVSLax­man’srecord-rewrit­ing281, Harb­ha­jan Singh’s hat­trick em­bel­lished match haul of 13 for 196 and Rahul Dravid’s de­ter­mined 180 had made this pos­si­ble. Not to for­get Sachin Ten­dulkar’s five over spell in the last af­ter­noon.

With Gan­guly’s In­di­ans gar­nish­ing this He has played some of the best sec­ond in­nings knocks ever played. Be it the hun­dred against Sri Lanka to take In­dia past the fin­ish­ing line or the match win­ning 96 again­stSouthAfricainDur­ban,VVSwasat his best in crunch sit­u­a­tions and when the team needed him the most. How­ever, noth­ing bet­ters his 73 not out against Aus­tralia at Mo­hali in 2010. With 92 still to get and In­dia 8 down, not even the most ar­dent In­di­an­fan­would­have­ex­pect­edthemir­a­cle that fol­lowed. Lax­man, bat­tling a sore back and se­ri­ous pain and with a de­fi­ant Ishant Sharma for com­pany ground down the Aus­tralian bowlers bring­ing the team just 11shy­ofvic­tory.That’swhenIshant­de­part­ed­fallingleg­be­forewick­et­giv­ingAus­tralia one­fi­nal­sniff.How­ever,it­was­not­to­be­with Pragyan Ojha get­ting two leg byes of Mitch John­son­tosealo­ne­ofIn­dia’smost­mem­o­rable vic­to­ries leav­ing Ricky Ponting win­less on In­dian soil. Lax­man’s in­nings was one of pure de­ter­mi­na­tion and char­ac­ter adding much to this ri­valry, which in­evitably brings out the best from the very best.

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