- Offspinner Jasubhai Patel will always be remembered for one match in Kanpur in 1958-59, when he took 14 wickets against Richie Benaud’s team
- Kolkata, 2001 match is the stuff of legend with Laxman batting his way to a marathon 281 and then Harbhajan leading India to an epic win
NEW DELHI: Ahead of the four-Test series between Virat Kohli’s Indian team, ranked No 1 in the ICC Test Championship, and Steve Smith’s Australia, here’s a look back at eight memorable Indian wins over touring Australian sides.
By 119 runs in Kanpur, 1958
The offspinner Jasubhai Patel played seven Tests from 1955-1960 but will always be remembered for one match in Kanpur in 1958-59, when he took 14 wickets against Richie Benaud’s team to deliver India’s first victory against Australia. At 35, Patel was something of a surprise recall but put in a superb performance to rattle the touring Australians – his 9/69 in the first innings was the best-ever analysis by an Indian bowler until Anil Kumble took all ten against Pakistan almost 40 years later. He added 5/55 in the second innings to bowl India to a 119-run win that leveled the series.
By 2 wickets in Mumbai, 1964
Coming off a 139-run defeat in the first Test in Chennai, India leveled the series in what was then known as Bombay in nerve-wracking manner. BS Chandrasekhar snapped up eight wickets while skipper MAK Pataudi hit twin fifties, but in the end it came down to Chandu Borde’s grit. Set a target of 254, India slumped to 122 before Pataudi (53) and Vijay Manjrekar (39) breathed life into the nervy chase. But when the pair fell in the space of nine runs, India were left with 31 runs to get and two wickets left. Borde summoned great inner resolve to make an unbeaten 30 off 54 balls and found assistance from wicketkeeper Prince Indrajitsinhji who scored 3 in 41 balls out of a stand of 32. A thriller was sealed.
By 179 runs in Chennai, 1998
The series began in Chennai with Shane Warne getting Sachin Tendulkar for 4, caught by Mark Taylor at slip. When Tendulkar came to the crease in the second innings, Taylor understandably tossed the ball to Warne. The batsman began by driving four down the ground, then hit Warne inside-out past extra cover when the bowler came around the stumps. Warne persisted with the change in angle and Tendulkar hit him over midwicket for six. At the end of the over, Taylor asked Warne how he planned to bowl to Tendulkar. The reply was a matter-of-fact: “Tubs, we’re stuffed.” Tendulkar went on to compile a commanding unbeaten 155 off 191 balls as India took the first Test by 179 runs.
By 171 runs in Kolkata, 2001
This match is the stuff of legend. India down 0-1 in the series, bowled out for 171 in reply to Australia’s 445, forced to follow on … and then it all turned very, very special. The hero for India was VVS Laxman, whose 83-ball 59 from No 6 inspired the move to send him in at No. 3 when India batted a second time on the third day. Laxman finished the day not out on 109 and with Rahul Dravid (180) batted the entire fourth day while adding 335; the eventual stand of 376 broke a series of records and took India to 589/4.
Laxman batted his way to a marathon 281, the highest Test score by an Indian and one that changed the tone of the match. Sourav Ganguly’s declaration with a lead of 383 set Australia 75 overs to bat out a draw; Harbhajan Singh – whose first-innings 7/123 on day one included the first hat-trick by an Indian in Tests – had other ideas and took six wickets to bowl India to an epic win.
By 2 wickets in Chennai, 2001
The stage was set for a gripping final Test at a historic venue and what transpired over five unforgettable days added to many terming the 2000-01 series as the best played in India ever. Matthew Hayden continued his impressive form with a sweep-filled maiden double-century but Harbhajan collected 7 for 133 to keep the tourists to 391. In India’s reply, Tendulkar scored a superb 126 and put on 169 with Dravid as India managed a lead of 110. In Australia’s second innings Mark Waugh scored 57 while adding 100 with Justin Langer and brother Steve as Australia battled into the fifth day on 241 for 7. Harbhajan took the last six Australian wickets for 15 runs in 17.1 overs to finish with a career-best 8 for 84; that set India a target of 155. Australia chipped away at India’s batting and recued the hosts to 135 for 7, raising hopes of a famous series-clinching victory late on day five. India lost their eighth wicket at 151 but Sameer Dighe and Harbhajan kept their nerves to seal a thrilling two-wicket win that gave India the series.
By 13 runs in Mumbai, 2004
The series had been lost by the time the final Test began at the Wankhede Stadium – this was the final frontier conquer conquered – but it ended with a madcap three days of cricket on a minefield of a pitch. India were skittled for 104 but hit back through Anil Kumble and Murali Kartik to get Australia for 203. Tendulkar and Laxman scripted fifties of immense focus before Michael Clarke, in his fourth Test, produced amazing figures of 6/9 in 6.2 overs as India subsided for 205 on day three. Set 107 to win, Australia crashed to 93 before the day was over with Harbhajan and Kartik pulling off an unbelievable 13-run win.
By 172 runs in Nagpur, 2008
India went into the fourth and final Test in Nagpur in November 2008 with a 1-0 advantage, and duly proceeded to beat Australia by 172 runs to win back the series trophy. Tendulkar scored a fine 109 to carry India to 441 even as the debutant offspinner Jason Krejza took 8/215 from 43.5 overs; Harbhajan became the third Indian bowler to 300 Test wickets as India took the first-innings lead; Ganguly followed 85 in his penultimate innings with a first-ball duck in his last; and the match ended with MS Dhoni handing over the captaincy to Ganguly during the final passage of the Test. Fittingly, it was exactly eight years to the day that Ganguly began his tenure as captain in 2000.
By 1 wicket in Mohali, 2010
While Laxman will forever be synonymous with India’s Eden Gardens win that epic 281, he did play several other gems against the Australians. One of those was an unbeaten 73 off 79 balls in Mohali in 2010, an innings which took India to a dramatic and magnificent finish to the first Test. On a dramatic final day, India had slipped from 76/4 to 124/8 but Ishant Sharma (31) stood up to be counted in an 81-run partnership for the ninth wicket with Laxman, before Pragyan Ojha survived to help seal an exhilarating win. Laxman’s contribution, at the age of 35 and with a stiff back, was invaluable and left Australia dazed at how he had again duped them. “These situations get the best out of me,” was Laxman’s reply when asked about his work after another under-pressure classic.