Top three away batting performances in Tests for Team India in year 2021.
Thanks to the World Test Championship, Test cricket was a huge selling point in 2021 and overtook all the other formats of the game. The format saw history being made and records being shattered, perhaps the most memorable ones this particular year.
Subsequently, Team India didn’t play much white-ball cricket, especially ODI cricket in 2021, which numbered just six, the least in the last 41 years.
In terms of the men's cricket team's performance in Test cricket away from home, the year 2021 will go down in Indian cricket history as a watershed moment. India is having a good run in cricket's oldest and longest format, and it's all happening away from home, which is a remarkable feat in itself.
Under Virat Kohli's guidance, the squad has had a lot of success in Test cricket and their hard work coupled with a focus on strengthening their pace battery has paid off this year. They conquered the Gabba, which before their victory seemed like a far-fetched dream for any touring side which touched Australian shores in the past 32 years. They became the first Asian team to emerge victorious in Centurion, the fortress of the Proteas. And in all of these matches, the team witnessed some exceptionally exquisite performances by the Men in Blue.
India played a total of 14 Test matches in 2021, in series against Australia, New Zealand, England (twice), and South Africa (SENA countries). The Indian cricket team showed what the true romanticism of Test cricket is. Every series saw one or the other player rise to the occasion poised with persistence and grit and helped win games.
Although the side couldn't win the inaugural World Test Championship, the players still dominated the longest format with both bat and ball.
While, India have emerged as the powerhouse of class pacers in 2021, the batters have been no less dominant. So, let’s take a look at the top three innings by India’s batters in Tests in 2021.
Rishabh Pant 89* runs vs Australia in Brisbane
It was during the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2020-21 when the Indian team scripted history at Gabba. Australia had never lost a Test at Gabba since 1988 but the Indian team deciphered the method and breached the Gabbatoir, therefore, snatched Australia’s decades-old pride. A lot of credit went to the Indian batters after a brilliant display by the seemingly inexperienced bowlers.
The toss played in the favour of Australia as Tim Paine decided to bat first. Indian batting unit responded with 336 runs to Australia’s 369 runs in the first innings, trailing by 33 runs. Australia added another 294 runs in their second innings, thereby setting a virtually unachievable target of 328 runs for India.
Australian bowlers were dominating proceedings on day 5 after the dismissal of Shubman Gill’s dismissal on 91 runs. The short-ball barrage from Mitchell Starc and Pat Cummins was killing India’s hopes of sealing a historic win. However, the 23-year-old Rishabh Pant averted the possible horror show of the loss, instead steered the Indian team to a historic victory.
The southpaw showed both composure and grit in his unbeaten 89* off 138 deliveries at a strike rate of 64.49. Pant arrived at the crease after Cheteshwar Pujara departed for 56 runs.
Rishabh Pant anchored the chase and got into two crucial partnerships - a 61-run stand with Pujara and a 53-run stand with Washington Sundar. His innings went down as one of the top three innings by India’s batters in Tests in 2021, especially, because India scripted history at Gabba in the light of beating Australia by 3 wickets, which no other visiting team in Australia could in the last 32 years!
KL Rahul 129 vs England at Lord’s, London
Flamboyant opener KL Rahul, enjoying his career peak, was named in the Indian Test team for the England tour in 2021. He last played in the white jersey for India against West Indies in 2019 and was later dropped from the red-ball format due to poor form.
On his comeback, he scored 84 and 26 in the first Test at Trent Bridge that ended in a draw. However, the second Test was his to declare his dominating comeback in red-ball cricket. He showed brilliant composure in the first innings in the Lord’s Test and scored 129 runs off 250 deliveries. It was his second century on English soil, the first one being 149 at The Oval in 2018. Due to his knock, India registered victory by 151 runs and took a 1-0 lead in the five-match Test series. The side also scripted victory at the Lord’s after seven years under the able leadership of Virat Kohli.
Since then, Rahul has become an integral part of the Indian Test team, especially for his success in the SENA countries, particularly in red-ball cricket in 2021.
Rohit Sharma 127 vs England at Kennington Oval, London
After a historic win at Lord’s in the second Test, the Indian team wilted in the third Test at Headingley in Leeds and lost the game by an innings and 76 runs. The series was going neck-to-neck with both England and India tied with a win each. It was time for redemption for the Indian team after a dismal batting display in Leeds.
After put in to bat first, the Indian team managed 191 in their first innings to which England responded with 290 runs in their first innings.
The visitors trailed by 99 runs and needed an extraordinary knock from one of their top-order bats to be in the game. And that was where the ‘Hitman’ came into play. Rohit Sharma smacked 127 runs off 256 deliveries and helped his side post 466 runs in their second innings. Rohit also scored his first-ever century in Tests on overseas soil which helped India win by a margin of 157 runs on the final day of the game.
Sharma is now also India’s talisman in Tests because till date all the eight centuries he has scored has ended on a winning note for India. His knock of 127 runs at The Oval, also his first overseas century goes down as one of the top three innings by India’s batters in Tests in 2021.
Note: The list is based on performances which enabled India to win a game (criteria)