NEW DELHI: India's 75-run win in Bangalore to level the Border-Gavaskar Trophy on Tuesday was one of the most engrossing Test matches of recent time, equally for the manner in which both teams jostled for dominance with bat and ball as well as how bouts of woeful batting threatened to outdo the other. Truly, it was a rollercoaster four-day affair which underscored the allure of gripping Test match cricket.
On a spiteful M Chinnaswamy surface, India ceded the initiative with a batting collapse on day one, during which offspinner Nathan Lyon claimed the best figures by an overseas bowler on Indian soil; Australia threatened to claim a big lead but six wickets to Ravindra Jadeja pegged them back to set up a tantalizing period; Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane resisted after another wobble to forge the series' first century partnership, giving India a lead of 120 by the close of day three, but a stunning fightback from Josh Halewood and Mitchell Starc on the fourth morning saw India lose six wickets for 36 runs to set the tourists a target of 188. It was always going to be tough, but India surged to a 75-run win as Australia lost their last
six wickets for just 11 runs.
Virat Kohli, India's captain, termed this win - the 16th of his captaincy - as "the sweetest". On that note, here's a look at some of India's most enthralling victories over Australian teams in Test cricket in the modern era.
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 then-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, Sachin 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 5 wickets in Adelaide, 2004
Adelaide 2004 will forever be Dravid's match. It was here that Dravid scripted an epic 223 in India's first innings, putting on 303 with Laxman after Ricky Ponting's 242 carried the hosts to 556, and hit the winning runs with a cut through the off side before pumping his fists and kissing his India cap. Ajit Agarkar's unexpected six-wicket haul on the fourth afternoon set up a target of 230; India started the fifth day's play resuming their first innings at 37 for 0 but a couple of wickets left India at 79 for 2.