3 Classic Encounters in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

Virat Kohli. File photo.

(RAHNUMA) When it was first instituted in 1996 as the India v Australia equivalent of The Ashes or the Frank Worrell Trophy, it was only right that the contest should be named after two batsmen with a total of 21,296 runs between them, Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar. With 8 wins, and one draw, from a total of 14 series, India continue to have the upper hand. And, as anyone whose seen the Amazon Prime fly-on-the-wall series The Test, India seem to hold a special mystique for the team. One player in particular, Virat Kohli, certainly won the mind games in the 2018 series, a fact that was reflected in the final result.

Now we’ll have to wait until December to see if Australia will get their revenge. Until then, it’s worth looking back at three great Indian test victories from the past.

2001, Kolkata

Looking at current cricket betting odds in which Australia are 5/2 favourites to win the ICC World Twebty20, it gives an idea of their perceived dominance in the short form of the game. The same sort of confidence was at play in the early stages of  this Test which, had Australia won, would have clinched the series for them.  After all, with a first innings total of 445 for Australia followed by skittling out India for 171, plus and enforced follow-on, it looked to be in the bag. But that was reckoning without a second innings partnership of 376 between VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid, including the former’s career-best 281. Declaring at 657-7, 384 runs ahead, then it was Harbhajan Singh’s chance to shine with bowling figures of 6-73, winning the match for India by 171 runs.

2003, Adelaide Oval

File photo. 

In the drawn series of 2003, it was the second Test that was the outstanding match of the four. Once again, Laxman and Dravid stepped up to the plate when it was really needed, becoming the first ever pair of Indian batsmen to share two partnerships of more than 250 runs against the Aussies. Their heroics were needed after Australia posted a total of 556 in their first innings thanks, largely, to a momentous 242 from Ricky Ponting. But Dravid’s 233 and Laxman’s 148 saw India score 523. A tired Australia then went on to score just 196 in their second innings, setting India 230 to win – a total they comfortably overhauled with four wickets in hand.

2017, Bangalore

Our final example is proof that often it’s the low-scoring matches that can be the most exciting. Australia went into the match one up in the series and Nathan Lyon, having one of his better days, had a dream start in the first innings, spinning his way to 8-50 on the way to dismissing India for 189. Australia countered with 276 to which India responded with 274. The target of just 188 seemed eminently gettable, but that was without reckoning for the off-breaks of Ashwin on the deteriorating pitch – and the 75 run Indian victory that ensued.

So here’s hoping that this December sees a Test or two that measure up to this calibre – and that India will be lifting up the trophy once again.

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