Ind vs Aus: Recapping the Top 10 greatest knocks by Indians in Test cricket

Ind vs Aus-Top 10 greatest knocks by Indians in Test cricket: Indian Test cricket history has enjoyed a rich and illustrious past and the legacy has been carried forward through every generation of cricketers.

India has come a long way since its inception in cricket and are currently the best Test team in the world. India has been fortunate to have a rich resource of batting talent which never seems to stop. The legacy that started with Vijay Merchant to Tiger Pataudi and from Sunil Gavaskar to Sachin Tendulkar is now helmed by the likes of Virat Kohli, Rahane.

Let us recap the Top 10 knocks by Indian batsmen in the longest format of the game.

1. Ajinkya Rahane-112
Australia vs India (Melbourne 2020)

Ajinkya Rahane produced one of the finest knocks in Test cricket as he turned back the clock to the historic 2001 Eden Test where VVS Laxman single-handedly revived India’s hopes against Australia.

India came into the second Test in Melbourne after recording their worst ever performance in Test Cricket history and with an extremely depleted squad sans regular skipper Virat Kohli and bowling spearhead Mohammed Shami injured.

However, Rahane played a true captain’s knock of 112, one that was an epitome of skills, patience, resolute defense, determination, and bloody-mindedness to turnaround the tables from Adelaide- where India recorded their worst ever performance in Test cricket after being bundled out for a mere 36 runs.

Rahane had come to the middle after India had lost back-to-back wickets of Shubman Gill and Cheteshwar Pujara and were reeling at 3/64. The right-hander went on to bat throughout the day, stitching a crucial 50-run-stands with Hanuma Vihari and Rishabh Pant followed by an unbeaten 100-plus stand with all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja.

2.Virat Kohli- 141
Australia vs India (Adelaide 2014)

India were taking on Australia in their back yard and were set a daunting 364 to win the match. Most teams would have tried to play it safe, but Kohli was a man of a different breed.

He and the Indian batsmen went after the target, and in the process, Kohli carved out possibly the greatest innings ever played by an Indian batsman in the fourth innings of a Test match. The dangerous Mitchell Johnson was driven with grace, Nathan Lyon was cut and pulled to the boundary. The Aussies even made Steven Smith roll his arm over but to no avail. Kohli dismantled the Australian bowling attack in his own inimitable way.

But just when India were gaining the upper hand, their skipper perished, out for a magnificent 149. And with the dismissal of Kohli, the hopes evaporated as well, as India went on to lose the match by 48 runs.

The loss brought back the memories of the 136 that Tendulkar had conjured in Chennai in the year 1998, against Pakistan, where India fell like a pack of cards after the master’s dismissal.

The same pattern repeated here, seventeen year later, with Kohli as the protagonist. And with this knock, Kohli achieved the rare feat of scoring two hundreds in the same test, an achievement that had eluded even the legendary Sachin Tendulkar.

3. Gautam Gambhir 137
New Zealand v India (Napier 2009)
Jesse Ryder’s 201 and hundreds from Ross Taylor and McCullum helped the hosts post a daunting 619-9 declared, and India, in their first innings couldn’t even manage half that. With more than two days left India’s challenge was clear, but monumental.

Gambhir, the man in form, anchored their innings to perfection, holding his end till the final session on day five. He was expertly supported by the big-three: Dravid (62), Tendulkar (64) and Laxman (124) to mount frustration for the hosts’ spin duo of skipper Daniel Vettori and Jeetan Patel. Gambhir’s innings lasted 643 minutes as India batted out 180 overs to save the Test. Another three-digit score in the third Test in Wellington completed India’s first series win in New Zealand since 1968.

As for the Indian opener, it was a start of a glorious run, which saw him score hundreds in five back-to-back Tests, during which, he also climbed to the top of Test Batting Rankings.

4.Virender Sehwag-195
Australia vs India (Melbourne 2003)

Virender Sehwag is a combination of two opposite virtues. At his sublime best, Sehwag can be brutally devastating, and at the same time, be delightfully pristine. And, in front of a packed house at the MCG, Sehwag blasted his way to a stunning 195, an assault that left the Australians in a daze. At the start of his innings, Sehwag was hit on the helmet twice by a vicious Brett Lee, but that did not stop him from just brutalising the Australian attack.

Sehwag just pulverised the opposition- Brett Lee was cut ferociously past point, Brad Williams was driven gloriously past cover, Stuart MacGill was whipped past mid-wicket, and driven down the ground. The Australians even made Steve Waugh roll his arm over but to no avail. Sehwag was just unstoppable.

He scored 195 out of a team total of 366, but it was not enough as Australia won the match by 9 wickets. Nevertheless, the audacious stroke play of Sehwag and the way he ripped apart the best bowling attack in the world will be etched in the minds of cricket lovers forever.

5. Sunil Gavaskar 221
England v India (Oval 1979)

An all-time classics. The Oval Test of 1979 saw India almost produce the unlikeliest of wins. The chief architect was of course, the man who defined their batting for a generation, Sunil Manohar Gavaskar.

Trailing 1-0 in the series, India were set a target of 438 runs in their fourth innings with five sessions to play. Gavaskar and his opening partner Chetan Chauhan added 76 by the end of the fourth day’s play. The final day turned out to be a fiercely gripping day of Test cricket. The openers saw India past 200, with Gavaskar getting t0 three figures. Chauhan departed for 80 but Dilip Vengsarkar (52) helped India maintain their ascendancy. At 366-1, India were outright favourites to better what had been achieved four years ago at the Port of Spain, with Gavaskar once again playing the lead.

However, a stunning collapse followed, with India losing their next seven wickets for 67, including that of Gavaskar – one of Ian Botham’s three scalps. The visitors eventually finished at 429-8, just nine runs shy of what would have been a record run-chase.

6. Rahul Dravid-270
Pakistan Vs India (Rawalpindi 2004)

Rahul Dravid resembles a monk on a cricket field. He was a man blessed with impeccable technique and unflappable concentration. And, in the final test match against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 2004, Dravid flattened the fearsome Pakistani attack consisting of the likes of Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami and Saqlain Mushtaq in a classic display of pure batsmanship.

His square cuts were pristine, his flick was ethereal, the head was steady and the weight was transferred on either foot with ease. And, in a classic that lasted 495 balls, Dravid conjured a magnificent 270, studded with 34 glorious hits to the fence. It was cricket’s most technically gifted player at his sublime best, and the Pakistani bowlers were left searching for answers as Dravid carved out a magnificent inning at Rawalpindi.

7. Sachin Tendulkar-241
Australia vs India (Sydney 2004)

Great sportsmen are made of a mental make-up that is inaccessible to the lesser mortals of the sport. They can mould their game to suit the situation, and look at the challenge in the eye, and vanquish it.

And, in the year 2004, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sachin Tendulkar took batsmanship to a whole new level by refusing to play a single cover drive through the off side. It was a master showing the world that he can entirely cut out one part of the field, but can still play the way he wanted to.

Brett Lee was driven down the ground, Nathan Bracken was flicked past mid-wicket, and Stuart MacGill was cut and swept to the boundary. And, in a vigil that lasted 436 balls, Tendulkar carved out a magnificent 241*, that left the Australians dumbfounded.

8. VVS Laxman-281
India Vs Australia (Kolkata 2001)

In the first Test in Mumbai, Australia secured a thumping 10-wicket win to make it 16 consecutive wins. Heading into the second Test at the Eden Gardens, India were staring at a crisis. Waugh’s first hundred in India helped the team to 445 all out. The highlight for India was Harbhajan Singh, who became the first Indian bowler to take a hat-trick as he took 7/123.

India were bowled out for 171, with VVS Laxman, who was not supposed to play the match due to a back injury, making 59 as India trailed by 274 runs. In the second innings, they had reached 232/4 before Laxman, along with Rahul Dravid, stitched together a partnership that would change the course of not only the match, but also Indian cricket.

By stumps on Day 3, India had reached 254/4 with Laxman on 109 and Dravid on 7. However, things were about to change dramatically on Day 4.

Both Laxman and Dravid, with their backs to the wall, notched up one of the best partnerships as India turned the tables on Australia. Both counter-attacked and held firm as Australia wilted. By the end of the day, the duo had smashed 335 runs without being separated.

On Day 5, Laxman’s quest to become India’s first triple centurion was jolted as he fell for 281. This was then the highest individual score by an Indian batsman in Tests and it was also the third-highest by any batsman against Australia. The 376-run partnership for the fifth wicket was the third-best in Test history for that wicket. Dravid departed for 180 and India declared at 657/7, the third-highest third innings score by a team in Tests at that time.

9. Virender Sehwag 309
Pakistan vs India (Multan 2004)

Virender Sehwag known for his aggressive style was a complete entertainer with the bat. It was obvious that he would be a complete package for the limited overs format but many experts believed that he would fail in Test cricket with this approach.

The Nawab of Najafgarh proved everyone wrong, and his 309 against Pakistan in 2004 was a breakthrough performance. He became the first Indian batsman to score a triple century. He annihilated the Pakistan bowling attack with his power hitting which included the likes of Shoaib Ahktar, Mohammad Sami and Abdul Razzak.

Sehwag’s 309 included 39 boundaries and six sixes, and it was also one of the fastest triple century scored by him and second to Matthew Hayden in the list.

Sehwag’s innings will always be remembered as one of the most destructive innings in the history of Test cricket.

10. Rahul Dravid- 233
India vs Australia (Adelaide 2003)

Rahul Dravid had been one of the fulcrums of the Indian batting line-up in the past two decades. He consistently scored runs all over the world and won matches single-handedly. His strong defensive technique and the ability to stay long at the crease were the hallmarks of his batting.

Dravid played an amazing inning in the second Test against Australia at Adelaide. The Aussies had posted a daunting first innings score of 556 runs and India looked in deep trouble with the score reading 85 for 4.

It seemed that the Indian team would find difficult to save the follow-on after the middle-order collapse, but resilient Dravid was not ready to throw in the towel yet.

The Karnataka batsman along with VVS Laxman built a huge partnership of 305 runs and helped the team in getting close to the first innings total. Dravid went on to score an impressive double century and was the last man to get dismissed on 233.

With the help of Dravid’s innings, India took the lead in the four-match Test series by 1-0. He also played a crucial role in the second innings and scored unbeaten 72 while chasing a difficult target of 233.

Dravid’s innings is probably the best innings in overseas condition played by any Indian overseas batsmen.