Before starting the article, we offer our sincere condolences to Phil Hughes’ family, friends and relatives. Rest in Peace.
We are taking a trip down the memory lane and are recollecting some of the memorable moments from every Down Under trip India took. Continuing from the first part, we saw the better part of India’s gritty attitude after the 2000s all of which started under the able and aggressive leadership of the Prince of Calcutta, Sourav Ganguly.
2003-04 Tour, Adelaide:
This series was fiercely anticipated after India stopping Waugh’s unbeatable team in 2001 for a 2-1 victory in a pulsating contest. Expectedly, cricket lovers were not left disappointed by what followed 2 years later. Of the many highlights of the skills of the “Big Five” (Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman), Adelaide stood out because of the sheer difficulty of the match situation. Australia piled up 556 runs in the first innings (courtesy a 242 from Ricky Ponting) and got India to a spot of bother at 100-5. This time, it was a reversal of roles from the Eden Test match in 2001, with Dravid playing the lead role and Laxman the supporting one. The next wicket fell with 388 runs on board, while Dravid and Laxman went on to get 233 and 148 respectively. India got to 523 runs in their first innings.
Ajit Agakar’s brilliant performance (6 wickets for 41 runs) saw Australia getting bowled out for 196 only, and India chased down 230 runs steadily to secure a famous victory.
Australia would draw level the very next match (at Melbourne, in spite of Sehwag’s incredible 195) and Waugh would play his last Test match in Sydney, which ended as a draw. The series was justly regarded by cricket lovers all around the world to be one of the very best to have been played Down Under.
2007-08 Tour, Perth:
Any Indian fan watching the game live will remember this as India’s finest away Test victory. The relation between India and Australia had taken a serious blow after the alleged poor umpiring against the Indians in the Sydney match. Furthermore, the infamous “Monkeygate” scandal between Harbhajan and Symonds (the latter accusing the former of racial abuse) did not make things any better. Such was the impact that Steve Waugh thought this may influence the relations between the two countries politically.
Equalling the 16 Test winning streak set by Waugh’s team in the legendary 2001 Aussie tour of India, Ponting’s men looked to go one better this time. India had different plans though, as they proved to be the thorn in the flesh yet again. Through an inspired performance, everybody in the team chipped in to some extent, most notably VVS Laxman, Irfan Pathan and Ishant Sharma, among others. In what was typical Laxman, wonderful partnerships with Dhoni and Harbhajan saw India to a second innings total of 294 from a tight situation at 160 runs for the loss of 6 wickets. Few will forget the fiery spell of Ishant Sharma when he knocked down Ricky Ponting in the second innings.
Chasing an imposing target of 413, Australia hardly looked their imperious self as they crumbled to 8 wickets for 253 runs only with the departure of Clarke. An entertaining partnership between Johnson and Stuart Clark of 73 runs only delayed what was the inevitable. India were the first touring team after the legendary Caribbean team of the 1980’s to win a Test match at Perth, and Australia’s dream for the 17th continued to be unrealised.
2011-12 Tour, Adelaide:
Months ago the number one in Test rankings, India came to tour Australia following a humiliating 0-4 defeat in Tests in England. India did not show any signs of improvement, with the past pillars of Indian batting: Dravid, Laxman and to some extent even Sachin Tendulkar, failed miserably. It was surely a noteworthy tarnish on the otherwise incredible way all the three fared against Australian bowling earlier.
The series was already lost 3-0 when India went to Adelaide, and skipper Dhoni had been ridiculed by cricket experts around the world. The only ray of hope, as seen even in the previous Test at Perth, was the upcoming talent: Virat Kohli. Kohli scored a stunning 75 runs in the second innings at Perth in what was otherwise a depressing account of batting from the Indians.
Carrying the confidence forward, it was Kohli again who provided the Indians with something to cheer about: being the first century maker from the Indian side in the series. While the Indians showed little patience on a batting friendly Adelaide pitch, Kohli cashed in on his newfound confidence in Perth to get his first Test ton. In a dazzling display of strokemaking, Virat made amends of his rough behaviour (showing the middle finger to the taunting crowds at Sydney) and scored a fine 116 runs in India’s total of 272. India would go on to lose the Adelaide Test and hence get handed a shameful whitewash. But Kohli’s exuberance reminded many of the little wonder who made an impression in the 1992 India’s tour of Australia, and certainly gave hope to the cricket lovers.
Here is a video to remember significant events from previous India-Australia series. Watch and share your opinions.