Border Gavaskar Trophy: Five Memorable 21st century India-Australia duels played in India
Border Gavaskar Trophy: Top Five Memorable 21st century India-Australia Tests played in India.
The Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) named after two great cricketing icons Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar from Australia and India, respectively, marks one of the fiercest rivalries in the history of world cricket. The Border Gavaskar Trophy has given ardent admirers of cricket various nerve-jangling moments, a topsy turvy roller coaster of emotions, an array of sledging, infamous brawls but most importantly, it has given evenly poised edge of the seat competitive games of cricket.
With World Test Championship (WTC) 2021- 23 cycle reaching its concluding stage before the final to be played in June this year, this BGT series to be held in India is touted as a virtual final between the most probable WTC Final contenders, India and Australia. With India winning three consecutive BGT series, the most recent one by a margin of 2-1 in 2020-21 in an away series, India will look to maintain their dominance and exploit home conditions to place themselves comfortably as one of the finalists in WTC 2021-23.
Australia after taming South Africa at home, look determined to return the favour and defeat India in India. It is going to be a daunting task ahead of the visitors as India have not lost a Test series at home since their loss to England in 2012-13.
Let’s hark back to the top encounters between India and Australia in India in the 21st century.
India vs Australia, Kolkata Test 2001
The Eden Gardens Test in 2001 between India and Australia will forever be remembered as one of the best come-back-from-behind victories by a team in the history of cricket. On air, one of the commentators mentioned, “The third team in 1535 Test matches to win a Test after following on, this time the follow on was too huge to be taken down.”
India were trailing 0-1 in this home series in 2000-01. At Eden Gardens, playing their second match of the series, India were bundled out for a paltry score of 171 in the first innings which allowed Australia to take a massive lead of 274 runs. The visitors then asked the Indians to follow-on and what followed next baffled the mighty Aussies.
VVS Laxman scored 281 runs and Rahul Dravid scored 180 runs in a bid to take down the mighty follow on and put on a record 376-run stand for the fifth wicket to push Aussies on the back foot. Chasing 384 to win, Australians were bowled out for just 212 by India’s bowling attack led by Harbhajan Singh who picked up 13 wickets in the match: 7 in the first innings and 6 in the second.
This Test match sowed the seeds of resilience and fearlessness in Team India who were initially perceived as underdogs against the undisputed kings then, the mighty Aussies.
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India vs Australia, Nagpur 2004
The 2004 Border Gavaskar Trophy series played in India will be remembered for the comeback made by Australia who had to wait for 35 years for a series win in India. In Nagpur, the world of cricket saw an indomitable Australia who crushed India by a comprehensive margin of 342 runs.
Australia started proceedings by scoring 398 runs in their first innings with Damien Martyn scoring a century. In reply, India could manage only 185 runs. Australia got a healthy lead of 213 runs but didn’t enforce the follow on. They declared their second innings at 329/5, giving India to climb up an unassailable mountain of 542 runs.
The target seemed too steep for India to scale down as the Aussie bowlers were quite disciplined with their line and lengths with Jason Gillespie (4-24) being the leader of the bowlers’ pack. India succumbed at 200, handing Australians a 342-run victory and a series win as well.
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India vs Australia, Nagpur 2008
India were leading 1-0 against Australia in the 4-match series and swelling with confidence. In Nagpur, playing the final match of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2008-09, India batted first and scored 441 runs on the back of a century from the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar. The only saving grace for Australia was Jason Krejza who scalped 8 wickets.
Australia subsequently mustered 355, with Harbhajan Singh being the pick of the bowlers, picking up 3 wickets. With an 86-run lead, India scored 295 runs thus posting a steep target of 381 runs for the visitors. Australia never looked comfortable while chasing and got bundled out for 209, giving India a significant victory against Australia by 172 runs.
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India vs Australia, Mohali 2010
With 216 runs required to be chased down to secure a win in the Test match at Mohali in 2010, India were reeling at 124/8 at one stage. With only tailenders left to put up some fight along with an injured VVS Laxman at the other end, it was as difficult as blowing life into a dead corpse. Then came Ishant Sharma who batted and survived for 92 deliveries and stitched an important 81-run partnership for the ninth wicket. He scored 31 runs before he departed with only 11 more runs required to be scored to seal a victory against Australia.
Laxman was battling an injury and Suresh Raina was running for him. The final nervy and exhilarating moments of the match with only a wicket to spare, saw an otherwise calm gentleman Laxman lose his cool and yell at his batting partner and runner for taking a risky single. At the other end, Ojha the number 11, not much known for his batting exploits, somehow managed to put bat on ball and India ran those two runs in a thrilling finish to register a hard-fought memorable win.
After India won the match, VVS Laxman knew no boundaries to his pain and ecstasy and he was seen jumping with joy, hugging and congratulating his batting partner Ojha and runner Raina for their valiant efforts.
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India vs Australia, Bengaluru 2017
This particular Test match shall always be remembered as ‘The Spinners’ Heist.’ India sealed the victory against the Aussies by 75 runs in a low-scoring affair dominated and exploited by spinners from both ends.
India opted to bat first but KL Rahul’s 90 was not quite sufficient as Nathan Lyon picked up eight wickets in the first innings. Ravindra Jadeja then followed suit in the Australian innings by picking up six wickets to bowl out the visitors for 276.
India set Australia a modest target of 188 but the way the ball was turning, Aussies faced tough times tackling India’s spinners. Ravichandran Ashwin picked six wickets to see off the visitors for 112 as India won by 75 runs. India eventually won the series 2-1 after winning the fourth Test in Dharamsala.
The first Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23 between India and Australia will be played at the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur from February 9-13. The second Test will be played in Delhi from February 17-21. In more than a week’s time, the third Test will be played in Dharamsala from March 1-5, followed by the fourth Test in Ahmedabad from March 9-13.
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