While the clash between India and Australia doesn’t get the popularity of The Ashes or the Indo-Pak Series, this clash has often seen some brilliant individual performances from both sides. There have been some exceptional performances by the batsmen, as well as, bowlers from both India and Australia.
Let us have a look at the top 5 Indian batting performances against Australia:
5. Cheteshwar Pujara: 204 in Hyderabad, 2013
It has been often written that Cheteshwar Pujara’s batting is a perfect throwback to the classic style of Test batting, and this innings was the best reminder of that. When the Aussies toured India in 2013, nothing could have got better for the Indians.Embed from Getty Images
In the second Test of this series, India faced a setback when the opener, Virender Sehwag, departed after scoring just 6 runs. But, the partnership between Pujara and Murali Vijay more than compensated for that. It is very few times you see Pujara play the aggressor’s role. But in this partnership, Pujara showed his dazzling strokeplay as Vijay went on a slower note.
Pujara ended up making 204 runs in 341 balls in 450 minutes. He scored 30 fours and a six in this process as India won the match easily.
4. Ravi Shastri: 206 in Sydney, 1992
Shastri is one of the rare cricketers to have batted in all the positions except 11th in his Test career. This innings dates back to the time when he was an opener in a series Down Under.Embed from Getty Images
The Indian batting order had been nothing but disastrous in the first two matches of the series and staging a comeback in the third match would have been difficult given the pristine form the Aussie bowlers were in. India was headed for another disaster with the bat as Navjot Sidhu returned for a duck and the next few batsmen too departed after getting starts. Shastri, on the other end, was piling up a few runs.
This when a youngster, Tendulkar, stitched a solid partnership with Shastri. In a partnership that made 196 runs, Shastri was the aggressor while Tendulkar gave ample support. Shastri finished at 206 in 477 balls. To top this, Shastri took 4 wickets in the next innings, as the match ended in a draw.
3. Sachin Tendulkar: 241 in Sydney, 2004
It is not often that you see ‘The God’ having a bad patch. But this was one of those times. Sachin had made only 82 runs in the past 5 innings and the Aussie bowlers were ready to hand him over another embarrassment.Embed from Getty Images
But this time, Sachin was determined to make a comeback, that too a strong one. He took some time to settle before attacking the Aussie bowlers. And as Sachin started unleashing his shots, the Aussies were just spellbound. And a stunning feature of this inning was that it didn’t even contain a single cover drive. This knock of Sachin lasted 613 minutes and 436 balls, including a 98-over partnership with Laxman.
Also accompanying Sachin’s knock in this match were Anil Kumble’s 12-wicket haul, VVS Laxman’s 178 and Parthiv Patel’s quick-fire 62 off 50 balls. But Sachin’s innings just stood above these.
2. Rahul Dravid: 233 in Adelaide, 2003
The Aussies had scored a mighty 556 in the first innings on their home turf. This score might have given them enough confidence to win this match. And India reeling at 85-4 might have just been the push Australia wanted to demolish the batting line-up too. But Rahul Dravid had other plans.Embed from Getty Images
Rahul Dravid had shown a good touch as he prepared for a marathon innings. But the lack of partners at the other end wasn’t in favour of him. This is when he was joined by his favourite partner, VVS Laxman. Together, they made a partnership of 303 runs.
Even after Laxman departed, Dravid continued to stitch partnerships with Parthiv Patel and Anil Kumble as he scored 233. In the 4th innings, chasing a target of 230, Dravid played another crucial knock of 72* and won the match for India.
1. VVS Laxman 281: Kolkata, 2001
Talking about the Dravid-Laxman partnerships, how could we forget this match? This was probably one of those innings which even the Gods might have stood still and watched in awe.
Put to follow-on after scoring only 171 in reply to Aussies’ 445, India had already lost a wicket for 52 runs when Laxman walked in. Even though Sachin and Ganguly had departed without making many runs, Laxman batted on. He was joined by Rahul Dravid, who was making runs too. Laxman ended that day with a century. But how long would he bat? The Australians were ready with a champagne bottle to open the next day.Embed from Getty Images
And this is the day when Laxman and Dravid did what they loved the most, bat their hearts out. They were fighting the Aussie bowlers, the Kolkata heat and their personal injuries together. Both had made centuries, but their brilliance continued. Laxman departed at 281, just 19 runs short of a triple-hundred. As he walked back, the entire Eden Gardens was cheering out loud, the Indian team gave a standing ovation and the Aussie players too were clapping.
And this innings was rightly declared ‘Wisden’s Innings of the Decade’.
Featured Image: Hamish Blair/ALLSPORT, Getty Images
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