Top 5 Test knocks by Indian batsmen against Australia in the 21st Century
Team India is now set to face Australia at home starting with four-match Test series in the 2023 Border Gavaskar Trophy.
The Border-Gavaskar trophy is one of the most prestigious Test series played between two giants of cricket, India and Australia. It started in 1996-97 with India being the winner of the trophy and to date, the team has won the title 10 times as compared to Australia, who won only on five occasions.
The latest series being played went in India’s favour when some fantastic batting displays in Australia helped India create history. The historic win at The Gabba is still fresh in the minds of millions of cricket fans. Now, it’s time for India to host the iconic series with the first Test to be played in Nagpur from Thursday.
As there are hardly a few days left for the battle, let us take a look at the five most memorable test knocks by Indian players against Australia. Here they are:
#5 Ajinkya Rahane – 112 runs in Melbourne
One of the most elegant batsmen India has ever produced, Ajinkya Rahane was the showstopper in India’s remarkable victory down under in 2020-21. After being down 0-1 in Adelaide, Indian fans were left in shock when Virat Kohli and Mohammad Shami got injured ahead of the Melbourne Test.
It was a crucial time in the dressing room as Ajinkya Rahane had the biggest of the responsibilities on his shoulders and the Mumbaikar took the challenge in style with his composed nature.
After bundling Australia to just 195 in the first innings, the Indians batted pretty well by posting 326 runs on the board. Skipper Ajinkya Rahane played a true captain’s knock of 112 to give India a decent lead. With no big hits in his innings, Jinx was at his sheer best with 12 elegant boundaries.
In the second innings, Australia was bowled out for just 200 runs giving India a target of 70 to chase in the last innings. Rahane and Shubman Gill steadily did the formalities to take India home.
#4 Rahul Dravid – 233 runs in Adelaide
You cannot imagine a list of best Test knocks without this man. Arguably, one of the finest Test players till date, Rahul Dravid has been a blessing to Team India for a long time. The right-hander always got better with time and produced some of the best knocks in Test cricket. One such innings came in Adelaide when Dravid scored 233 to give India one of the best victories of all time.
The 2003-04 Test series in Australia was a memorable one under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly where India drew the series and retained the trophy. After batting first in Adelaide, Australia scored a mountainous 556 in their first innings with Ricky Ponting scoring a double century.
India, on the other hand, replied in style with 523 runs, thanks to the fine innings of 233 by Rahul Dravid. With 446 deliveries and 23 boundaries, he frustrated the Australian bowling line-up and put India back in the game.
With Ajit Agarkar’s stupendous show in the bowling, the hosts were all-out for just 196 in the second innings, giving India a target of mere 230 odd runs to chase. Once again, it was Dravid who took the responsibility on his shoulders and finished things off.
#3 Sachin Tendulkar – 241 in Sydney
Fondly known by his fans and cricketing fraternity as the ‘God of Cricket’, Sachin Tendulkar is one of the reasons for India’s success in cricket over the years. Right from the time of 1989 till his retirement, the great man has given thousands of happy memories to India. One such memorable one came in Sydney when India toured Australia in 20023-04.
It was the same series where Dravid scored 233 in Adelaide. Now, it was time for the Master Blaster to show his class. After a phenomenal victory in Adelaide, Ganguly & Co. lost the battle in Melbourne. Now, with the series level at 1-1, it was important for the visitors to either win the clash or draw to retain the trophy. That’s when Tendulkar played one of the best innings of all time.
The Master Blaster was facing issues with his drives in the series and he decided not to play any in the final Test. With so much dedication throughout his innings, there was not even a single cover drive by Tendulkar which eventually helped him to regain his form and took India out of danger.
He scored 241 not out with 33 glorious shots. India put on a big total of over 700 on the board leaving all Australians disappointed. The hosts scored 474 in their first innings, followed by India’s 211. The game ended in a draw with the Kangaroos scoring 357 for 6 in their last innings.
#2 Rahul Dravid – 180 in Kolkata
This innings can be called one of the most under-rated innings in Test cricket because of a very very special knock from the other end. It was a battle in Kolkata and India was on the verge of an innings defeat at home.
With Australia scoring 445 in their first innings, the Indians were bowled out for just 171. The visitors decided to send India back to end the game at the earliest but the god had written something special at that time.
India, after coming back once again to bat, scored a phenomenal 657/7 dec. thanks to a special innings from Rahul Dravid who supported VVS Laxman to achieve this height. Dravid played 353 deliveries for his special knock and also scored 20 boundaries.
In the end, it was Harbhajan Singh’s hat-trick that stole the show and gave India the historic victory at Eden Gardens.
#1 VVS Laxman – 281 in Kolkata
This innings is arguably the greatest innings played by a cricketer in Test cricket. VVS Laxman, one of India’s top Test players of all time, registered this feat in the 2001 Kolkata Test. He scored a magical 281 runs in front of a packed Kolkata crowd and what makes this knock even more special was the timing of this knock.
It came when India was almost getting defeated by an innings. Laxman took the whole responsibility on himself and played 452 deliveries for his special knock. He not only took India out of that worst situation but also kept them in the winning position.
He was so elegantly going with his flow that no Australian bowler could stop him from making history. It looked like the ball stopped swinging and turning on that deck. He hit 44 boundaries in his top-notch innings to put Australian bowlers under pressure. Bhajji’s heroics in the end with the ball became the icing on the cake for Sourav Ganguly & Co.
With Rahul Dravid, Laxman gave India one of the most iconic moments in cricketing history to remember. It was also the time when several questions were raised on the team regarding match-fixing but this unforgettable moment proved to be a turning point in India’s revival.