India vs Australia Flashback: India's Dominating Tour Of Australia
New Delhi:India's 2003 tour of Australia was a tour which surprised everyone and confused cricket pundits. India retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy as the series drew 1-1.
Indian team, in 2003, had a mixed record coming into the series against Australia. They lost the World Cup Final, that too against the Aussies, earlier that year. However, the test results were coming in decent, if not good. India was winning at home but they were still waiting for a similar result in foreign conditions. This series was yet another opportunity for Indians to leave an impact.
Australia, under the leadership of Steve Waugh, was coming into the series with a streak of seven series wins. It looked almost certain that the Australian team will come out as the winners even though they were without the services of Glenn Mcgrath and Shane Warne.
First test match(Brisbane), 4-8 Dec - It was a cloudy day, and the curators offered a green top. Indian captain Saurav Ganguly had no problem in choosing to field after winning the toss. Contrary to the conditions, Australians started on a positive note and didn't lose a wicket before scoring 73 runs. With some good support from the other end, Justin Langer reached his century before the first day ended early due to bad light. On the second day as well, less than 20 overs were bowled. However, the Australians lost five wickets during that time. On the third day, only 38 balls were bowled throughout the day, but Indians were now batting. Zaheer Khan took a five-wicket haul. On the fourth day, Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman batted with a mixture of grace and aggression. Ganguly scored his first century in Australia. Indians scored 409 runs before getting bowled out.
Trailing by 86 runs, Mathew Hayden played an aggressive knock of 99 at a strike of just over 100. Aussies gave Indians a target of 199 runs with 23 overs still left to play. Debutant Nathan Bracken took two successive wickets and putting the Indians in a spot of bother. VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, however, made sure India didn't lose a wicket as the game ended in a draw. Saurav Ganguly got awarded the player of the match award for his century.
Brief Score: Australia - 323 & 284/3D; India - 409 & 73/2
Player of the Match - Saurav Ganguly (144)
Second test match(Adelaide), 12-16 Dec - It was a sunny first day morning, and the Australian captain Steve Waugh did not hesitate to bat first. Justin Langer once again gave a good start to the team and reached his half-century. Ricky Ponting's catch was dropped on six runs and he went on to make a double century. It was a classy innings, as everyone was describing it, helping his team get past 500 runs in the first innings. Indians missed Zaheer Khan, who injured his hamstring in the first test match, but the leg spinner Anil Kumble took five Australian wickets. India started well, scoring at a good rate before losing four wickets in a short time. It was then, the beginning of a partnership that haunted Australians in 2001 as well - Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman. The two played with grace and patience. The sound of the textbook cover drives and punches still echoes on the Adelaide ground. Dravid scored a double century while Laxman fell short of two runs to reach 150 runs. The crowd applauded as the Indian batsmen walked back to the pavilion after scoring 523 runs.
Ajit Agarkar, in the third innings, bowled a beautiful spell and took six wickets. Australians were bundled out for 196. The Indian team once again got off to a positive start by openers Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra. Rahul Dravid finished the match as the Indian team, for the first time in 23 years, won a test match on Australian soil. It was the end of a historic match as India gained the lead.
Brief Score: Australia - 556 & 196; India - 523 & 233/6
Player of the match - Rahul Dravid (233, 72*)
Third test match(Melbourne), 26-30 Dec - Indian captain won the toss and opted to bat first on a bright sunny day. His decision turned out to be a correct one as the Indian openers, Virender Sehwag and Aakash Chopra, added 141 runs for the first wicket. Sehwag continued his masterful batting and got good support from Rahul Dravid. India after losing Sehwag's wicket, who scored 195 runs, were pushed to the back foot. India lost the last six wickets for 16 runs and got bowled out for 366. Australians replied with an even better batting display from Mathew Hayden and Ricky Ponting. Hayden scored an aggressive 136 while Ponting stood at one end playing, a matured knock of 257. Aussies piled up 558 runs getting a healthy lead over Indians.
Australians took early wickets of both the Indian openers but Rahul Dravid and Saurav Ganguly steadied the ship. Dravid fell short of eight runs for his century. With not much support from the rest of the batsmen, India got all out for 286, giving a target of 95 runs. Australians leveled the series with ease. Ricky Ponting got a well-deserved player of the match award.
Brief Score: India - 366 & 286; Australia - 558 & 97/1
Player of the match - Ricky Ponting (257, 31*)
Fourth test match(Sydney), 2-6 Jan - Saurav Ganguly won yet another toss and opted to bat first on a bouncy pitch. Indian openers gave a good start, as they consistently did throughout the series. Sachin Tendulkar, who was going through a bad patch in the series, played an innings of a lifetime. Tendulkar stood tall along with VVS Laxman and added 353 run partnership for the fourth wicket. Sachin registered his highest score in tests, 241, while Laxman hit a fluent 178. Indians declared the innings on 705/7 after playing more than 187 overs. Justin Langer, in reply, played a fine knock of 117 along with his opening partner Mathew Hayden. Simon Katich was the other centurion of the Australian innings as they tried to reach close to the Indian total. Aussies got all out for 474. Anil Kumble alone took eight wickets in the innings.
Indians, in the third innings, quickly scored 211 runs on the bank of Dravid's 91 giving Australians a huge target of 443 to chase. All the top-6 Australian batsmen contributed as the chase got interesting at one point. Steve Waugh, who was playing his last test match, and Simon Katich added 142 runs. However, the total was too far to reach as the game ended in a draw. Indians retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy as the series drew 1-1. Australia's seven series winning streak was ended by an Indian team. Rahul Dravid got awarded the player of the series trophy.
Brief Score: India - 705/7D & 211/2; Australia - 474 & 357/6
Player of the match - Sachin Tendulkar(241*, 60*)