Classic India-Australia Tests

Published: Monday, October 4, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Bangalore:Three reasons why the forthcoming Test series between India and Australia is not for the faint-hearted:

Chepauk ground, Madras, Sept 18-22 1986

Captains: Allan Border (AUS) and Kapil Dev (IND)

Result: Match tied

The high-scoring thriller produced only the second tied result in Test history. Dean Jones hit a heroic 210, his eight-hour marathon in sweltering heat causing him to vomit on the field and be put on a drip in hospital after the day's play.

Australia made 574-7 declared and India replied with 397. The match appeared headed for a draw as Australia built up a 347-run lead by stumps on the fourth day.

Australian captain Allan Border livened up the game by declaring overnight in a bid to force a result on a wearing wicket.

India, however, responded bravely to the challenge and reached 204-2 midway through the afternoon session, needing another 144 in the last three hours of play.

As the excitement grew, a flurry of runs and wickets left India needing four runs to win with the last-wicket pair of Ravi Shastri and Maninder Singh at the crease. Border handed the penultimate over to off-spinner Greg Matthews, who had scalped nine wickets in the match till then.

The first four deliveries produced three runs which levelled the scores. Matthews rapped Maninder on the pads with his fifth ball and Indian umpire Vikram Raju raised his finger to declare the batsman leg-before.

Australia celebrated an enthralling finish. Maninder maintains to today he had edged the ball and was wrongly given out.

Eden Gardens Calcutta, March 11-15, 2001

Captains: Steve Waugh (AUS) and Sourav Ganguly (IND)

Result: India won by 171 runs

India produced one of the most stunning comebacks in Test history to end world champions Australia's record 16-match winning streak.

Having been pasted inside four days in the first Test at Bombay, the Indians seemed headed for another thrashing when they were asked to follow on 274 runs behind on the third day of the second Test at Eden Gardens.

With just 171 in the first innings in reply to Australia's 445, not even the most optimistic Indian supporters gave their team a chance.

Venkatsai Laxman, however, engineered a dramatic fightback with 281, adding 376 for the fifth wicket with Rahul Dravid (180).

The duo batted through the entire fourth day against the dreaded Australian attack of Glenn McGrath, Jason Gillespie and Shane Warne.

India declared their second innings at 657-7 shortly before lunch on the final day, leaving Australia an imposing target of 384 in a minimum of 75 overs.

There was no hint of the drama to follow as Australia reached 166-3 soon after tea, needing to play out the remaining 30 overs to force a draw.

But the Indians grabbed five wickets for eight runs in the final session to send some 90,000 Calcutta fans into a frenzy.

Australia slumped to 174-8 and off-spinner Harbhajan Singh dismissed the last two batsmen, Gillespie and McGrath, to set up an astonishing Indian win. Harbhajan, who took a hat-trick in the first innings, finished with 13 wickets in the match to earn the nickname the "Turbanator" from the Australian media.

Chepauk ground, Madras, March 18-22, 2001

Captains: Steve Waugh (AUS) and Sourav Ganguly (IND)

Result: India won by two wickets

Three days after the Calcutta thriller, the rivals began the series decider in hot and humid Madras.

Steve Waugh's pre-match prediction that the match would be won and lost in the final session on the last day proved spot on. Matthew Hayden hit 203 as Australia scored 391 after electing to bat. India replied with 501 with Sachin Tendulkar making 126.

Harbhajan skittled Australia for 264 in the second innings with a eight-wicket haul, leaving India a target of 155 on the final day. The hosts slipped to 135-7 after tea despite Laxman's 66 and Australia were poised for the kill.

Debutant wicket-keeper Sameer Dighe, who played only because Nayan Mongia was injured, held fort amid mounting tension.

Dighe put on 16 for the eighth wicket with Zaheer Khan, who fell to McGrath for no score with India still needing four to win.

Harbhajan played it cool to leave his mark with the bat, steering McGrath for two to third man to signal India's win. Harbhajan was named man of the series for his 32 wickets and Waugh's last frontier still remained unconquered.

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