Aus vs India Tests: Sachin Tendulkar’s iconic 241, the highlight as we look at the most memorable knocks by Indians in Australia.
After an exciting white-ball leg at Sydney and Canberra, India and Australia will be up against each other in a format that will be remembered for a long time. It’s almost like starters have been served, and it is time to deliver the main course to the appetite of fans from both the nations. Both the teams will be prepared to smell some red leather in all-important series for the fortunes in the ongoing World Test Championship.
The history hasn’t been kind to the Indian team when they have toured Australia having won just 7 matches and lost 29. However, it has been kind to the Indian batsmen. There have been Innumerable instances where knocks by Indian batsmen have either saved the game, won it, or even made a significant impact.
With that in mind, and as a build-up to this series, we will take a tour to few of the most memorable knocks played by Indian batsmen on Australian soil in Test matches.
Sachin Tendulkar – 241* at Sydney, 2003-04
When team India landed in Australia in late 2003, there were absolutely zero expectations from them even in terms of putting up a fight against the mighty Aussies. But 5 weeks later, when they reached Sydney, the series was still tied at 1-1, and India were in with a shout to register a historic series win.
Batting first after winning the toss at SCG, India had made a commanding start when Tendulkar came to the crease. Tendulkar, if you know was struggling with his personal form after coming back from his Tennis Elbow injury. He had decided to change up something in his technique, and it clicked. Whenever Australian bowlers bowled in that channel outside off, little master allowed the ball to go through.
When the world used to be scintillated by Sachin’s cover-drives, he did not play a single drive through the off-side in more than 10 hours of batting. Even tennis legend Martina Navratilova, who was seating in the stands, was impressed by the commitment from her fellow athlete. Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 241 runs when India declared the innings on a record 705 for 7 in the first innings. In the end, the match ended as draw, but that was an innings and a half from this Indian great.
VVS Laxman – 167 at Sydney, 1999
We are going back to times when Australia were even more dominant in world cricket. It is another SCG classic from India’s tour down under in 1999-00. It was a completely different situation as India arrived at Sydney with 0-2 down in a three-match series and with an aim to avoid a whitewash. But, the same story was again seemed to be repeated as the hosts took a lead of 402 runs from the first innings.
India had their backs against the wall to save themselves from an innings defeat. VVS Laxman took the field as an opener against a world-class bowling attack consisting of Glenn McGrath, Damien Fleming, Brett Lee and Shane Warne. Aussies were even more rejuvenated after getting top-order wickets pretty cheaply in the second innings as well.
However, VVS Laxman stood tall against all the difficulties that Australians were posing. He slammed a fighting 167 runs to offer some resistance to delay the inevitable. You can gauge the dominance of this innings by the fact that next highest score in the batting card was a mere 25. While India lost the match, the knock goes down as one the best on Australian soil.
Virender Sehwag – 195 at Melbourne, 2003-04
This one is a pretty special knock, not only for Virender Sehwag but also in the history of Indian cricket. Boxing Day has always been an important occasion in sporting calendars, and this knock came on thay day. Moreover, India were oozing with confidence to perform well after taking a lead over Australia against all expectations.
After electing to bat, India were off to a strong start – thanks to Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag. But, it was Virender Sehwag who played one of his most impactful innings in test match cricket. It was probably the first time that Sehwag provided glimpses into his talent to the world in this format. He launched an unprecedented attack to the Australians right from the word go.
The hosts were taken aback by this intent from the Delhi opener. He was looking all set for his first double hundred before getting out on 195 to Simon Katich. But, Team India made a statement that day against Australia by posting close to 350 on an opening day in front of a packed Boxing Day crowd at MCG.
Virat Kohli – 141 at Adelaide, 2014-15
The summer of 2014-15 in Australia will always remain as one of the most eventful seasons. Even before the international cricket began, the unfortunate demise of Phillip Hughes forced the schedule to be changed. World cricket were still grieving about this loss when India and Australia took the field in the opening match at Adelaide Oval. It was also Virat Kohli’s first match as the Captain. The match saw Team India being set a target of 364 runs by Australia on the last day.
India lost first two wickets reasonably early, and it looked like they would fall apart very soon. But Virat Kohli and Murali Vijay were involved in a memorable partnership to not only take India into contention but they were favourites to chase down this improbable task at one stage. The knock of Virat Kohli was a special one as it represented the approach that the whole team was carrying that day.
Kohli could have easily played for a safe draw, but he went for the chase. The fact that he went for the chase showed how Team India were willing to change their performances overseas. He was dismissed on 141, and India ended up on the losing side unfortunately due to a lower-middle order collapse. But, the sheer positive mindset during that knock remains as one of Kohli’s best.
Cheteshwar Pujara – 123 at Adelaide, 2018-19
Another special knock at the Adelaide Oval, and this came during India’s last tour to Australia. The fact that it came in a winning effort is just icing on the cake for all the Indian fans. It was the opening day of much talked about test series between India and Australia. India were already favourites to take the series in the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith.
Cheteshwar Pujara arrested a top-order collapse that day with India losing 4 wickets by the score of 41 runs. He was in his zone, and was playing as if nothing happened at the other end. Few useful contributions from the others made sure that India bat-out a day. The Saurashtra batsman frustrated Australian bowlers with his timeless approach to batting.
It was proper test cricket as Cheteshwar Pujara made 123 runs from 246 balls. He batted for more than six hours before getting run-out towards the end of day’s play. This innings laid the foundation to a famous test match win, and eventually a historic series triumph. The knock resulted in us winning the first-ever Test series in Australia, 2-1.
So, these have been the top memorable knocks by Indians vs Australia in Tests in Australia.
Rahul Dravid’s majestic match-wining knock of 233 at Adelaide in 2003-04 tour deserves all the applause in the world. It was an epic knock, and is sixth on the list. The fact that Dravid had brilliant support from other players meant the magnitude of the above-mentioned five knocks stands higher.
Thanks for reading! Which of the above-mentioned India vs Australia memorable knocks in Tests is your favourite? Please, let’s know in the comments.
Dharmik is an Author at AK4Tsay1 Cricalytics. He is an avid Cricket lover who fell in love with the game when Australia won the ’99 WC at the age of 6.