Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team declared early on day 4 of the Boxing Day Test against Australia after they had reached 106/8, with Pat Cummins taking his career-best haul of 6/27. India set Australia a target of 399 but the Indian team achieved a rare distinction in Melbourne. In the first innings, they had reached 443/7 declared thanks to Cheteshwar Pujara’s 106 and fifties from Mayank Agarwal (76), Virat Kohli (82) and Rohit Sharma (63*). This was only the third time in their cricketing history that India had declared twice in the Test match in an overseas tour. Out of the three, this was the second time that they had achieved the feat in Australia.
Before the Melbourne Test, India had declared twice overseas for the first time during the Sydney game in 2004. Sachin Tendulkar’s brilliant, unbeaten 241, combined with VVS Laxman’s 178 helped India reach 705/7 declared, which is their second-highest overseas score in a Test match. In the second innings, Rahul Dravid’s 91* and another aggressive 60* from Tendulkar helped India to 211/2 declared but the match ended in a draw as Australia held on to give Steve Waugh a bittersweet farewell.
The second instance was in the 2007 Test against Bangladesh in Chittagong. Sachin Tendulkar (101) and Sourav Ganguly (100) helped India to 382/8 declared and they managed a lead of 144 runs after bowling Bangladesh out for 238. In the second innings, in the quest for quick runs, India lost wickets but they declared at 100/6 to set Bangladesh a target of 250 runs but the hosts held on for a draw.
Overall, there have been six instances of overseas teams declaring twice in a Test in Australia. West Indies were the first to achieve this feat when they scored 350/6 and 124/5 declared in Sydney to secure a 30-run win in 1931. England declared twice in a Test in 1986 at WACA, Perth while New Zealand also achieved a double declaration feat in 2001 also at the WACA. South Africa declared twice in 2006 in Sydney but they still lost the game.
India would be hoping that they can secure a win in a double declaration for the first time in their history in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne.