Iconic Moments: India vs Australia in Tests

Mankaded, the final frontier, Shoulder Before Wicket and many more.

Mankaded [1947]: On December 13Australia’s opening batsman Bill Brown became the first Test batsman to be run out for backing up too far at the non-striker’s end. Indian all-rounder Vinoo Mankad effected the run-out, and the mode of dismissal came to be known as ‘mankaded’. It has happened only six more times in international cricket. 

Mankad had dismissed Brown in this manner earlier in a tour game too, but had offered the batsman a warning. In the Test match, no such courtesy was offered. The incident caused a minor controversy. The Aussie media termed Mankad’s act unsporting. Others such as Australia captain Don Bradman said Mankad was within his rights in doing it. 

Australia took the series 4-0 with Bradman making 715 runs. One of India’s high points on the tour was Vijay Hazare’s 116 on Day 3 and 145 on Day 4. [Picture: Wikimedia]

Jasu Patel’s Test [1959]: The wiry off-spinner from Ahmedabad was plucked out of obscurity for the Kanpur Test. He was 35, nearing the end of his career, but the dusty conditions at he Green Park favoured his bowling style. Patel took 9-69 (an Indian record till Anil Kumble bettered it) in the first innings, and 5-55 in the second. It set up India’s first Test win over Australia, but Patel’s career ended swiftly. He played only two more Tests in the same series, but became the first Indian cricketer along with Vijay Hazare to be awarded Padma Shri.  [Picture: 1984 file photo of Green Park]

One Eye & One Leg [1967-68]: In dark, damp conditions, India were 25-5 in the Melbourne Test when the late Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi Jr played the innings famously described as the one played with one eye (referring to his disability) and one leg (hamstring injury). The Indian captain scored 75 fearless runs, often taking the aerial route to lift the team to respectability. He then made 85 in the second innings batting mostly with the tail. It couldn’t prevent an innings defeat but is rated as Pataudi’s best in Test cricket.

Gavaskar’s Temper, Kapil’s Heroics [1981]:
 India’s tour had been marked by some ordinary umpiring. India, down 0-1 heading to the Melbourne decider, had their backs to the wall. An off-colour Sunil Gavaskar fought hard for 70 before being felled by a dubious LBW to Dennis Lillee. Gavaskar expressed his disappointment animatedly and was walking off before Lillee abused him. 

Gavaskar had a meltdown. He instantly decided to boycott the game, urging his opening partner Chetan Chauhan to walk off with him. Chauhan hesitatingly joined his captain before team manager SK Durani intervened, asking him to carry on batting. 

India eventually set Australia 143 to win the game and series. Karsan Ghavri and Dilip Doshi landed the first cuts before Kapil Dev, suffering from a groin injury, took 5-28 fuelled by sheer force of will. Australia were bowled out for 83.

The Chennai Tied Test [1986]: Dean Jones (above) and his hospitalisation. Allan Border needling him to carry on. Border getting into an argument with umpire Dotiwala. Greg Matthews wearing two jumpers in the heat, just to show how tough he was. Chetan Sharma telling Tim Zoehrer where he’ll put his bat if he didn’t stop chirping, and Zoehrer bending over in response. Kapil’s incredible first-innings hundred, Ravi Shastri trying to feed off the crowd that steadily built up as India got closer to chasing down 348. Finally, umpire Vikram Raju giving Maninder Singh out LBW to end the game. The Chennai tied Test of September 1986 was a once-in-a-lifetime event, full of incredible events that are outlawed in cricket now. [For fan videos, click here]

Tendulkar Stands Tall [1991-92]: India have only recently started shedding their tag of being lambs away from home, albeit slowly. But, in the early and mid 1990s, India was still easy fodder in alien conditions. India's five-test tour Down Under in 1991-92 followed the script as Australia walloped the tourists 4-0. India lost the final Test of the series at Perth by the massive margin of 300 runs, but this match is forever etched in cricketing folklore for the then 19-year-old Sachin Tendulkar's courageous knock of 114 in India's first innings facing up to the likes of Craig McDermott, Mike Whitney, Merv Hughes and Paul Reiffel. What makes this knock even more special is at that time, the WACA was a fast bowler's paradise and though the experienced campaigners in India's batting line-up wilted under the pressure, a talented teenager showed signs of things to come from his willow in the future. And, the Australian cricketing public has adored Tendulkar since that 114 in Perth.

Warne Deflated [1998]: Australia's leg-spin wizard Shane Warne won the first round of this battle when he dismissed Sachin Tendulkar cheaply in the first Test at Chennai. Warne though was left to rue his momentary victory as Tendulkar tore into him with aplomb in the second innings hitting him all over the ground as he made a magnificent 191-ball 155* that paved the way for India's spinners to run through the Australian line-up in the fourth innings as the hosts romped home by 179 runs. His decimation of Warne apart, what made this innings special was the work Tendulkar had put in ahead of this match. Tendulkar had asked former India leg spinner L Sivaramakrishnan to bowl to him in the nets from round the wicket into the footmarks as preparation to counter Warne should he adopt a similar tactic in the match; and when the Aussie legend went around the wicket, Tendulkar treated him with absolute disdain as he won the second round of this particular battle convincingly.

Lele’s Prediction & A Shoulder Before Wicket [1999-2000]: You know things aren't going to go your way when the secretary of your own board predicts doomsday. That's what happened to the Sachin Tendulkar-led team. Then BCCI secretary Jaywant Lele had predicted a 3-0 defeat. He was spot on. India lost in Adelaide by 285 runs, in Melbourne by 180 runs and 141 runs in Sydney. One of the standout moments of the series was umpire Darryl Harder ruling Tendulkar out LBW to Glenn McGrath. Tendulkar ducked to a low delivery and was struck on the shoulder and it’s hard to say if it was going to hit the stumps. The dismissal caused an uproar. One redeeming factor for India was VVS Laxman's magnificent 167 in Sydney.

The Final Frontier Stands [2001]: This has got to be one of the greatest series ever played. Australia came into the series on the back of a 15-Test winning streak and their then captain Steve Waugh had declared India was his final unconquered bastion. And, when Australia thumped India by 10 wickets in Mumbai thanks to magnificent centuries by Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist with the bowlers coming to the party as well, it appeared as though Waugh would finally have his wish. 

Things went from bad to worse for India as they were forced to follow-on at the Eden Gardens and were staring at yet another defeat after Steve Waugh had scored his first Test century on Indian soil. This was then the cue for VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid to script together one of the most brilliant comebacks in the history of Test cricket as the pair added a mammoth 376-run partnership for the fifth wicket in the India's second innings to take out the confidence from Australia and instil belief in their team. Laxman went on to score a majestic 281 with Dravid playing an equally great knock of 180. Set a target of 384 in 75 overs, Australia was bundled out for 212 with Harbhajan Singh finishing with match figures of 13-196. Harbhajan had taken a hat-trick in Australia's first innings with his victims being Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist and Shane Warne. 

India went on to win the series 2-1 as they won the third Test in Chennai by two wickets in another classic contest between the sides. The highlights of this Test were Hayden's 203 in the Australian first innings, Sachin Tendulkar's 126 and half-centuries by SS Das, S Ramesh, Laxman and Dravid that helped the hosts take an important first innings lead of 110 runs. Harbhajan, who was having a dream run in this series, took 15 wickets in Chennai. Hayden with 549 runs in the series cemented his place in the Australian team, while Harbhajan with 32 wickets (and scoring the winning brace above) was the runaway star with the ball in the series. 

This, arguably, is India’s finest achievement in Test cricket given it was against a team at the very peak of its powers.

Dada Delivers [2003]: Justin Langer's 121 had helped Australia score 323 in their first innings in the first of the four-Test series at the Gabba in December 2003. India captain Sourav Ganguly came into the series low on confidence and with his technique against short-pitched bowling being questioned. But, the gritty southpaw answered his detractors in the best possible way as he negotiated all the Australian bowlers had to throw at him as he made a magnificent and courageous 144 as India took a 86-run lead. The innings set the tone for the series.

Rhymes With Tall [2003]: If Rahul Dravid hadn’t scored a run after the Adelaide Test, he’d still be considered great for this one match. His first innings 231 (and a 301-run stand with VVS Laxman) stabilised India before Ajit Agarkar’s incredible spell set up the possibility of an unthinkable win. Dravid once again guided the chase for the 230-odd runs. In a previous generation, India beating Australia in an away Test would have been considered unthinkable.

The Nagpur Pitch Controversy [2004]: Whatever the differences between the factions in Nagpur and West Bengal, Sourav Ganguly’s side had to bear its brunt. On the morning of the third Test in Nagpur, Ganguly arrived at the venue to see a green wicket that played perfectly into the hands of Australia who led 1-0. Ganguly suddenly had an ‘injury’ along with Harbhajan. India lost by a massive margin, surrendering their first home series to Australia since 1969. Stand-in captain Adam Gilchrist couldn’t hold back his tears. He had done what Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh had failed to do.

The Sydney Fiasco [2008]: Cricketing ties between the two nations hit their Bodylinesque lowest in the second Test. Shoddy umpiring aided an Australian win the dying moments of the game, and a full-blown racism controversy erupted with Harbhajan banned for allegedly calling Andrew Symonds a monkey. India reacted with outrage, threatening to pull out of the tour. Anil Kumble said only one team was playing in the spirit of the game, drawing comparisons with Bob Woodfull famous words in the Bodyline series. In the ensuing trial, Harbhajan was let off with a fine while India pulled one back with a tremendous win in Perth.

Die Another Day [2010]: India’s one-wicket win at Mohali was the stuff of sporting dreams. VVS Laxman (suffering from a sore back) and Ishant Sharma (who’d taken injections for a knee pain) came together at 124-8, with India needing 92 more for a win. Both batted with runners. It was a hopelessly comical situation. But Laxman willed himself on, finding minute gaps through the field, and racing to a quick fifty. Ishant hung on but India were 11 short when he was given LBW with an inside edge. Pragyan Ojha should have been given out LBW to Mitchell Johnson. He wasn’t, and he survived to score the runs to complete the scarcely believable win.


These were the Yahoo! Cricket team's picks for some of the stand-out moments in India-Australia Test matches.

Which one are yours? Please post them in the comments below.