India’s played their first series against Don Bradman’s Australia, in Australia in 1947-48. This was also the first time they played Test cricket since Independence. They predictably lost 0-4, but the series set off one of the most intense rivalries in cricket. Here are some famous moments from Test matches between the sides.
Mankad enters the cricketing lexicon
India were playing a tour game against an Australian XI. When non-striker Bill Brown had backed up too much, Vinoo Mankad issued him a warning, then ran him out. Mankad warned Brown again three days later when India were playing Queensland. Then, in the second Test match, at Sydney, he ran Brown out (this time without a warning) and became a cricketing term.
Hazare’s twin tons
Australia piled up 674 in the fourth Test match of the same series, at Adelaide. Then, Vijay Hazare scored 116, but it was not enough to avoid the follow on. Batting again, India were 0/2 in the first over, so Hazare had to walk out an hour after he had got out. This time he scored 145 (out of 277), becoming the first cricketer to score Test hundreds on consecutive days.
Switching ends for Patel
Having bowled out India for 152 in the Kanpur Test of 1959-60, Australia reached 128/1 by lunch on Day 2. Lala Amarnath, Chairman of Selectors, then apparently asked captain GS Ramchand to get Jasu Patel to bowl from the Pavilion End. Patel took a wicket with his first ball, returned 9/69 and 5/55, and India won their first-ever Test against Australia.
The Indian selection committee gave opportunities to several youngsters for the home Tests against New Zealand and Australia in 1969-70. One of them, Gundappa Viswanath, was out for a duck the first time he batted in Test cricket. He then scored 137 in six hours in the second innings – and became, along with Sunil Gavaskar, India’s leading batsman in the 1970s.
Kerry Packer had recruited the best of Australian cricket, so the board put together a second-string side for the home series against India. Bobby Simpson, 41 and retired a decade ago, was named captain. This depleted side managed to beat the Indians 3-2 in a series that battled for spectator viewership with Packer’s SuperTests throughout the summer.
Kapil defies pain
Australia had to chase a mere 143 at Melbourne in 1980-81. It seemed a hopeless cause, as both Kapil Dev (injured thigh) and Shivlal Yadav (fractured toe) were unavailable, while Dilip Doshi bowled with a fractured ankle. But India reduced Australia to 24/3 by stumps. Australia were still favourites – but Kapil, fortified with painkillers, decided to take the field the next morning. He took 5/28 to bowl out Australia for 83.
The second tied Test
India – somewhat uncharacteristically given the era – set out to chase 348 in one day. Gavaskar led the charge, the middle order contributed, and Ravi Shastri held on as the climax approached. With one run to score off the last two balls, No. 11 Maninder Singh was out LBW to Greg Matthews – though Shastri seemed keen on having a stern word with umpire V Vikramraju immediately afterwards.
After losing the first Test and having to follow on in the second, India were on the verge of losing the home series of 2000-01. But after S Ramesh and SS Das added 52 for the opening wicket, Sourav Ganguly promoted VVS Laxman – who had top-scored with 59 in the first innings – to No. 3. Laxman scored 281 and added 376 with Rahul Dravid to turn the series on its head. India won the Test, and then the series.
In 2007-08, Ricky Ponting was still the best batsman in the world, but on this day he was tormented by a tall, 20-year-old fast bowler. On a hard Perth wicket, Ishant Sharma beat both edges at will before ending Ponting’s misery by having him caught at slip.
VVS loses calm
Chasing 216 at Mohali in 2010-11, India were reduced to 124/8. Then Laxman, batting down the order due to a back pain, added 81 for the ninth wicket with Ishant Sharma. With six runs left, No. 11 Pragyan Ojha was reluctant to respond to a single; and Laxman, probably for the only time in his illustrious international career, uttered an angry word or two. India won by a wicket.
Warner pays homage
Australia had named the recently killed Phil Hughes as the 13th man for the Adelaide Test of 2013-14. David Warner raced to a hundred, celebrated the moment with his characteristic leap-and-fist-pump, and was visibly emotional as he reached the memorial 408 sprawled across the grass. He scored 145 and 102 in the match. “I just had a gut feeling that my little mate was down the other end with me the whole time, from ball one,” he later said.
Bumrah foxes SOS
Melbourne, 2018-19, Day 3, last ball before lunch. From mid-off, Rohit Sharma advised Jasprit Bumrah to bowl a slower ball. The speed gun read only 115 kph, at least 25 kph less than Bumrah’s usual pace. It was a perfect yorker as well, and the stubborn Shaun Marsh was trapped leg-before.
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