India-Australia series Down Under always rekindles bitter-sweet yet strong memories of the yesteryears. For those growing up in the 90s/early 2000s watching legends of Indian cricket, many a times nostalgia strikes to take us back to the older chapters of one of cricket’s greatest rivalries. Over the years, we have seen some breath-taking batting performances from Indian batters on Aussie soil.
Here is a list of our Top 5 individual batting performances of the last two decades.
Rahul Dravid’s 233 (2003-04)
Adelaide has a sweet spot in our memory. It was the second Test of the 2003-04 season, when India found themselves in great trouble having lost 4 wickets for just 85 runs in response to Australia's humongous first-innings total of 556. Rahul Dravid, "The Wall" weaved magic alongside VVS Laxman (148) with a rock-solid 233 off 446 balls to carry India closer to Australia's first innings total and also followed it up with a gritty 72* to seal one of India’s greatest victories on Aussie soil. Dravid was adjudged the Man of the Match for his contribution.
Sachin Tendulkar’s 241* (2003-04)
Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar still holds the record of the highest individual score by an Indian in Australia. His patient 241* off 436 balls at Sydney during the 2003-04 tour will always be remembered as one of his greatest knocks. Tendulkar was going through a lean patch with just 82 runs from 5 innings before he headed into the Sydney Test. He got out a couple of times playing his favourite cover drive during the series and he chose not to play a single drive on the off side throughout the knock - controlling temptation like a boss!
Cheteshwar Pujara's 123 (2018-19)
Cheteshwar Pujara's mature 123 (246 balls) at Adelaide after a first innings collapse where India lost 4 wickets for a mere 41 runs is regarded as one of his finest knocks ever. Pujara's 123 was the only bright spot in an otherwise batting disaster as India were bowled out for 250. However, Australia experienced a similar batting collapse and India eventually ended up on the winning side with Pujara being adjudged the Man of the Match.
VVS Laxman’s 167 (1999-2000)
Very rarely you would want to remember a match that India lost. However, the 1999-2000 series produced one such defeat in Sydney that is vividly present in our memory even now - all because of one man: VVS Laxman. India could manage just 150 in their first innings and Australia added insult to India's injury with a massive 552/5d. India needing 402 looked meek against an intimidating bowling attack comprising the likes of Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne and Brett Lee. The only man who stood tall in the disaster was Laxman with a crafty 167 off 198. This was Laxman's maiden Test century too.
Virender Sehwag’s 195 (2003-04)
Test cricket was not fast-paced in the early 2000s. We were comfortable seeing strike rates of around 50/60 on average most of the times. But then Virender Sehwag happened. He single-handedly changed the way Test cricket was played, infusing aggression into the longest format of the game. During the Boxing Day Test at the MCG on the 2003-04 tour of Australia, Sehwag enthralled all of us with a quickfire 195 off 233 balls which covered more than half of India's total of 366. Australia eventually won the match but Sehwag's flamboyance made a huge impact on world cricket.
It's Virender Sehwag's birthday!— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) October 20, 2020
The Indian opener was at his destructive best after some early luck on day one of the 2003 Boxing Day Test, clubbing 195 against Australia at the MCG. pic.twitter.com/ntx5PvUdgQ