How it all Started
from the Dead - India vs Australia, 2000-01
3 September 2005
When Steve Waugh’s Australian
team arrived in India they were on a mission – a
mission to conquer their final frontier and to prove beyond all doubt
that they could beat anyone anywhere. But they were met by a talented
Indian side who hadn’t been properly briefed on the
Australian script. India
until then, and probably since then as well, was known to crumble quite
easily when under pressure. And when India
had been beaten by 10 wickets in the first
match at Mumbai, and were following on 274 behind Australia
in the second
test at Kolkata, the final frontier was all but conquered.
But then the tide turned, and the Indians put together a series of
Comebacks that helped them achieve what few believed they could.
Four down in the 2nd
innings and still in arrears, and then came the partnership that every
Indian watched, or claims to have watched! Dravid and Laxman put on 376
sublime runs as India
put together Comeback Number 1. Chasing an improbably 384 to win in
less than a day Australia were looking comfortable at 161/3 when
Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar picked up the remaining 7 wickets
in just under 20 overs and India had staged Comeback Number 2 and had
leveled the series. And for only the third time in test history had a
team won a test after following-on. Remarkably Australia
was at the wrong end at each of these 3 occasions.
But there was more to come. In the third
batted first and was at 326/3 at the end of Day 1. Comeback Number 3
and that man Harbhajan restricted them to 391. India
managed a 110 run first inning lead inspired by the talismanic Sachin
Tendulkar and was set an apparently gettable 155 to win in the fourth
innings. They just about got there with 2 wickets to spare and had set
the record for the highest 4th innings winning
score at Chennai.
Having been 1-0 down
and following on, India clawed their way back
to win this enthralling series. Harbhajan Singh took 28 wickets in the
last 2 matches, VVS Laxman had scored India’s highest
individual score, and Mathew Hayden had arrived at the international
stage but what mattered was that Australia’s final
frontier remained unconquered, and for a while at least India began to believe that
they could win despite the odds.
submitted this article to CricInfo and it was published in one of their
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it on CricInfo.