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The flashpoint

Twists and turns

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Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


<b>1947-48 : FORAY INTO THE UNKNOWN </b><br><br>It was independent India's first overseas tour, and Lala Amarnath's team just didn't have the mettle to fight it out against Don Bradman's Invincibles. They lost four of the five Tests. At times, it seemed that the Indians were happy that they had got the chance to play against the Don. Probably the only high-point of the series was Vijay Hazare, who scored centuries in both innings of the fourth Test in Adelaide, scoring a well-made 116 and 145. But it couldn't stop India losing by an innings.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


1947-48 : FORAY INTO THE UNKNOWN

It was independent India's first overseas tour, and Lala Amarnath's team just didn't have the mettle to fight it out against Don Bradman's Invincibles. They lost four of the five Tests. At times, it seemed that the Indians were happy that they had got the chance to play against the Don. Probably the only high-point of the series was Vijay Hazare, who scored centuries in both innings of the fourth Test in Adelaide, scoring a well-made 116 and 145. But it couldn't stop India losing by an innings.

<b>1967-68 : ANOTHER REPEAT </b><br><br>It wasn't a memorable return tour, with India going down 0-4 in the four-Test series. The third Test defeat hurt most, as India came close to an improbable win chasing 395 for victory, only to fall 39 short. Erapalli Prasanna's magical offspin was again the only thing to savour for India in the series. In the four Tests, he captured 25 wickets at an average of 27. 44, leading Ian Chappell to term him the best off-spinner ever to have played the game.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


1967-68 : ANOTHER REPEAT

It wasn't a memorable return tour, with India going down 0-4 in the four-Test series. The third Test defeat hurt most, as India came close to an improbable win chasing 395 for victory, only to fall 39 short. Erapalli Prasanna's magical offspin was again the only thing to savour for India in the series. In the four Tests, he captured 25 wickets at an average of 27. 44, leading Ian Chappell to term him the best off-spinner ever to have played the game.

<b>1977-78 : FINALLY, SOME CHEER </b><br><br>Coming back from 0-2 down, India recorded their first Test win in Australia at the MCG in the third Test. Sunil Gavaskar set it up with a 118 in the second innings and leggie Bhagwat Chandrasekhar weaved his magic with 6-52 as India notched up the 222-run win. India made it 2-2 at at the SCG with an innings and 2-run win. Spinners Bishan Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Prasanna all played their parts. It was expected India would win the series with most of the Aussie stars leaving for the Packer series. But after making it 2-2, India failed to cash in on the momentum and lost the final Test in Adelaide. The lack of a genuine quick bowler really hurt India in that series.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


1977-78 : FINALLY, SOME CHEER

Coming back from 0-2 down, India recorded their first Test win in Australia at the MCG in the third Test. Sunil Gavaskar set it up with a 118 in the second innings and leggie Bhagwat Chandrasekhar weaved his magic with 6-52 as India notched up the 222-run win. India made it 2-2 at at the SCG with an innings and 2-run win. Spinners Bishan Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Prasanna all played their parts. It was expected India would win the series with most of the Aussie stars leaving for the Packer series. But after making it 2-2, India failed to cash in on the momentum and lost the final Test in Adelaide. The lack of a genuine quick bowler really hurt India in that series.

<b>1980-81 : THE RISE OF KAPIL DEV </b><br><br>India drew a series for the first time, and that too against a full-strength Australia. Gavaskar's team won the third Test at MCG on the back of GR Viswanath's century in the first innings and Mankad and Gavaskar's efforts in the second. But it was Kapil Dev with painkilling injections and his 5-28 that broke the Aussies' back. They were bundled out for 83, losing by 59 runs. Even though India won in MCG, Gavaskar's threat to forefeit the match after being given out leg-before to Dennis Lillee made things very acrimonious. It could have spilled over had the manager not intervened in time.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


1980-81 : THE RISE OF KAPIL DEV

India drew a series for the first time, and that too against a full-strength Australia. Gavaskar's team won the third Test at MCG on the back of GR Viswanath's century in the first innings and Mankad and Gavaskar's efforts in the second. But it was Kapil Dev with painkilling injections and his 5-28 that broke the Aussies' back. They were bundled out for 83, losing by 59 runs. Even though India won in MCG, Gavaskar's threat to forefeit the match after being given out leg-before to Dennis Lillee made things very acrimonious. It could have spilled over had the manager not intervened in time.

<b>1985-86 : INDIA LET MOMENTUM SLIP </b><br><br>India should have won the series 2-0, but failed to finish off the Tests in Melbourne and Sydney. While weather intervened in Melbourne with Kapil's boys needing a little over a hundred, the umpires came in the way in Sydney to make it a disappointing series. In a series that yielded no results, Sunil Gavaskar stamped his authority with two centuries in Adelaide and Sydney. In Sydney, India's top three - Gavaskar, Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath - all scored centuries.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


1985-86 : INDIA LET MOMENTUM SLIP

India should have won the series 2-0, but failed to finish off the Tests in Melbourne and Sydney. While weather intervened in Melbourne with Kapil's boys needing a little over a hundred, the umpires came in the way in Sydney to make it a disappointing series. In a series that yielded no results, Sunil Gavaskar stamped his authority with two centuries in Adelaide and Sydney. In Sydney, India's top three - Gavaskar, Krishnamachari Srikkanth and Mohinder Amarnath - all scored centuries.

<b>1991-92 : AND THEN, THERE WAS SACHIN </b><br><br>An ageing Indian top-order was badly exposed, with the likes of Dilip Vengsarkar, Srikkanth and Sanjay Manjrekar clueless on the bouncy Aussie tracks. Azharuddin's men lost 0-4. The only high point was the arrival of Sachin Tendulkar. He scored two centuries - Sydney and Perth - the second regarded by the Little Master himself as his best ever. Ravi Shastri scored a double ton in Sydney, picking debutant Shane Warne for special treatment.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


1991-92 : AND THEN, THERE WAS SACHIN

An ageing Indian top-order was badly exposed, with the likes of Dilip Vengsarkar, Srikkanth and Sanjay Manjrekar clueless on the bouncy Aussie tracks. Azharuddin's men lost 0-4. The only high point was the arrival of Sachin Tendulkar. He scored two centuries - Sydney and Perth - the second regarded by the Little Master himself as his best ever. Ravi Shastri scored a double ton in Sydney, picking debutant Shane Warne for special treatment.

<b>1999-2000 : VVS COMES INTO HIS OWN </b><br><br>A series which turned out to be the last for the likes of Devang Gandhi, S Ramesh, Vijay Bhardwaj and MSK Prasad. Tendulkar understood that captaincy was not his game after all and left it soon after the 0-3 rout. VVS Laxman's majestic 167 in a losing cause in Sydney was the only bright spot of the tour. This innings was to prove the appetiser for his 281 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata a year later - regarded by many as the greatest innings played by an Indian.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


1999-2000 : VVS COMES INTO HIS OWN

A series which turned out to be the last for the likes of Devang Gandhi, S Ramesh, Vijay Bhardwaj and MSK Prasad. Tendulkar understood that captaincy was not his game after all and left it soon after the 0-3 rout. VVS Laxman's majestic 167 in a losing cause in Sydney was the only bright spot of the tour. This innings was to prove the appetiser for his 281 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata a year later - regarded by many as the greatest innings played by an Indian.

<b>2003-04 : MATCHING BLOW FOR BLOW </b><br><br>The win in Adelaide was India's first Test win Down Under in 23 years. Rahul Dravid (233 and 72 n. o. ), VVS Laxman (148) and Ajit Agarkar (6-41 ) led India to a memorable win, helping draw a series in Oz after 1980-81. On the final day of the Sydney Test when all India needed was 10 wickets, Parthiv Patel dropped Ricky Ponting twice and India could manage only seven scalps, and lost a golden opportunity to win their first series Down Under.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


2003-04 : MATCHING BLOW FOR BLOW

The win in Adelaide was India's first Test win Down Under in 23 years. Rahul Dravid (233 and 72 n. o. ), VVS Laxman (148) and Ajit Agarkar (6-41 ) led India to a memorable win, helping draw a series in Oz after 1980-81. On the final day of the Sydney Test when all India needed was 10 wickets, Parthiv Patel dropped Ricky Ponting twice and India could manage only seven scalps, and lost a golden opportunity to win their first series Down Under.

<b>2007-08 : MONKEY OFF THE BACK </b><br><br>This was the tour that came to be known as Monkeygate, but some scintillating cricket too was played. India's win in Perth was the first by any touring side on the ground in 13 years. Irfan Pathan, making a comeback, shone both with the bat and ball while Dravid Tendulkar and Laxman all chipped in with the bat. Ishant Sharma's fiery spell to Ponting in the second innings, which ultimately led to his dismissal, was a treat for any Indian fan craving for some genuine fast bowling. But Sydney proved the flashpoint. Ponting's boorish captaincy and Harbhajan Singh's racial abuse at Andrew Symonds during the Test led to a diplomatic row and India were on the verge of coming back midway through the series.

Twists and turns

Dwaipayan Datta | December 24, 2011


2007-08 : MONKEY OFF THE BACK

This was the tour that came to be known as Monkeygate, but some scintillating cricket too was played. India's win in Perth was the first by any touring side on the ground in 13 years. Irfan Pathan, making a comeback, shone both with the bat and ball while Dravid Tendulkar and Laxman all chipped in with the bat. Ishant Sharma's fiery spell to Ponting in the second innings, which ultimately led to his dismissal, was a treat for any Indian fan craving for some genuine fast bowling. But Sydney proved the flashpoint. Ponting's boorish captaincy and Harbhajan Singh's racial abuse at Andrew Symonds during the Test led to a diplomatic row and India were on the verge of coming back midway through the series.

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