Australia is considered the ultimate battleground when it comes to visiting teams. The fast and bouncy nature of wickets, the hostile crowds and an opposition that go for the kill every single time, overseas batsmen find it a daunting task.
However, despite the conditions, there have been several batsmen who have overcome the odds and stamped their class in Australia. India have had several batsmen who have attained legendary status due to their exploits Down Under. Virat Kohli’s side are bidding to become the first Indian side to win a Test series in Australia. Ahead of the tour, here are some memorable knocks by India’s batsmen in Tests.
1) Sachin Tendulkar, 114, Perth 1992
The ‘Master Blaster’ had already acquired a reputation when he slammed 148 in the Sydney Test. However, this knock at Perth put him on a different pedestal. Australia, up 3-0 in the five-Test series, put up 346 on the board thanks to a century from David Boon. In response, on a pitch becoming quicker and with the bowlers extracting plenty of bounce, Tendulkar counter-attacked in style to smash a century in tough conditions. Although India had lost the match by 300 runs, Tendulkar’s knock gave India plenty to cheer about.
2) VVS Laxman, 167, Sydney 2000
India were hammered in the first two Tests in Adelaide and Melbourne. Heading into the Sydney Test, India were staring down the barrel after being bowled out for 150. Australia smashed 552/4 declared with Justin Langer hitting a brilliant 223. VVS Laxman showed his mettle and played some sublime strokes to thrill the Australian spectators. He dominated all the bowlers on his way to 167. Although India lost the match by an innings and 141 runs and the series 3-0, Laxman’s knock was the first of many memorable knocks against the Australians.
3) Rahul Dravid, 233 and 72*, Adelaide 2003
Australia were on top of their game at the start of the 21st century. Ricky Ponting blasted 242 to help the hosts reach 556. India were reduced to 85/4 before Rahul Dravid stepped up and played a knock for the ages. He shared a 303-run stand with Laxman and his partnerships with the tail helped India come closer to the target. His 233 was his highest score and he became only the second player since Ravi Shastri to score a double ton in Australia. Ajit Agarkar’s 6/41 bowled Australia out for 196, giving India a target of 230. In deteriorating conditions, Dravid once again steered the ship admirably to help India chase down the target and win by four wickets. This was India’s first win in Australia after 22 years and gave them immense belief.
4) Virat Kohli, 115 and 141, Adelaide 2014
It was like Virat Kohli vs Australia in an emotionally-charged Test in Adelaide. David Warner’s blazing 145, combined with Michael Clarke’s 128 and Steve Smith’s 162 helped Australia reach 517/7 declared. Kohli’s magnificent 115 helped India reach 444 while Warner blasted 102 in the second innings to set India a target of 364. Kohli was helped this time by Murali Vijay and at 242/2, India seemed on course to chase the target down. However, Vijay’s dismissal on 99 and a lower-middle collapse saw India squander the advantage. Kohli was still there on 141 but his dismissal saw India lose the game of 48 runs. It was one of the most heart-breaking losses for India but the knock stamped Kohli’s class.
5) Virender Sehwag 195, Melbourne 2003
It was a knock that redefined aggression and audacity. On a challenging track in Melbourne, Virender Sehwag sustained some blows to the helmet at the start of a fiery spell by Brett Lee and survived a run-out. Once he had weathered the storm, Sehwag tore the Australian bowling apart. The right-hander peppered the Melbourne Cricket Ground with some magnificent hitting and his 195 included 25 fours and five sixes. He attempted to reach a double century with a six but fell short of the milestone. Although India lost the match, Sehwag had given aggression a totally different term.