Crio’s Question: Memorable Indian performances?

I’ve seen Kapil Dev shoulder the load. I’ve watched as Bedi, Prasanna and Chandra weaved long spells. I’ve marvelled at the skills of Gavaskar and Tendulkar, the grit of Dravid and the flair of Laxman and Azharrudin.

But possibly the most remarkable performances that I’ve seen from Indian players came during the magnificent 2003/04 series – a contest which media, scared of the absences of drawcards Warne and McGrath, tried to memorialise as Steve Waugh’s farewell lap. Rather, it was a magnificent battle between 2 strong sides – the Aussie top order in Adelaide, from memory, was Langer, Hayden, Ponting, Martyn, Waugh, Katich, Gilchrist…but the bowling struggled all summer to deal with the Indians’ unusual resolve.

Over a couple of decades, Australia v India became the purists’ preferred contest, with epic battles lacking the spite preceding and then succeeding this era (Gavaskar at the ’G 1981 and Harbhajan in Sydney 2008).

The 2003/04 series had plenty of highlights but two that I witnessed have stayed with me.

Melbournians, of course, will long remember Virender Sehwag’s demolition of Australia’s attack at the MCG. Here was a player of extraordinary talent and, once in, the fielding captain’s instructions quickly became “spread out!”

But this knock came in a losing Test and one in which R.T. Ponting’s double ton put the pitch in perspective.

The performance of that series which befuddled me came in Adelaide. Like many, I’d turned up waiting to watch the Indians roll over. They’d not won down under for 20 years and this home side fed on flaws. But, of course, The Wall (Dravid) wouldn’t be knocked over and, instead, it was the impatient Aussies on a wearing deck who copped their comeuppance.

Ajit Agarkar, it must be said, did not seem to have the respect of his opponents – as a batter, he’d earned the sobriquet of the Bombay Duck, having earlier tallied nought in 7 consecutive innings’ against Australia. But on this day (15/12/2003) he made the ball sing and the Aussies swing – the expected home team recovery was swept aside as Agarkar’s 6/41 silenced the crowd.

I still can’t believe it.


As others look forward to this Test, let’s take the chance to look back at my memories of Aust v India and, in particular, those extraordinary performances which “blindsided” you.



  1. Great topic Crio. As a skinny kid I quickly worked out that I was not going to bounce anyone out. I became entranced with spinners, particularly those who used flight and guile to confuse the batsmen into surrendering his wicket. My first cricket idols were Ian Chappell (who was a handy leggy himself) and David Sincock the ‘Chinaman’ wrist spinner with the frog in the blender action, who turned them square and bowled half-trackers (alternatively).
    Summer holidays down from the country were spent at Adelaide Oval and I remember the 67/68 Indian tour when they had immaculate offie Erapalli Prasanna and leggie Baghwat Chandrashekhar with the withered left arm and similar ability to Sincock to turn them square.
    The Prasanna video’s on ESPN about great spin bowlers are wonderful:
    Which brings me to my all time Indian fave the left arm finger spinner Bishan Singh Bedi. To a kid he seemed so exotic. A different coloured turban every day. He bowled off two or three steps, but he made the ball sink, swerve, swoop and dive in the air – with no perceptible change in action. As Prasanna says in the video, Bedi was the master of flight. He was not a big spinner of the ball, but often the big turners and big swingers beat the bat so far, they don’t find the edge.
    Bedi was on the 67/68 tour, but only played two Tests taking 4 wickets at an average of 55. When India came back in 77/78 he was in his pomp with 31 wickets at 23.
    Indian spinners have always beguiled me. Quadir, Kumble and even Harbhajan (whose aggression we would have embraced if he was ours).

  2. Good one Crio.
    The Indians have always had mystery wrapped around them. So unlike the bleating Poms or the coolly hostile West Indians of my youth.
    Enigmatic. Brilliant.
    I remember a big deal being made of Azharuddin’s religious differences with teammates, his captaincy, and his regal bearing. And then a hundred in Adelaide, deflecting, glancing, seemingly without strength but doing it repeatedly and successfully.
    Bewildering India.

  3. There have been some memorable Australia V India matches in Adelaide

    . As well as the above listed there was the decider in 77-78, where we won. Tons from Captain Bobby Simpson, and the recalled Graham Yallop in our first innings got us off to a flier, but India fought back . Despite Jeff Thomson being injured , we finally bowlede out India in the fourth innings to clinch the series 3-2. This was Ian Callen’s sole test for Australia.

    A high scoring start to the clash in 81-82, including Kim Hughes highest test score, but the wicket played tricks on the final two days. On a crumbling wicket India held on for a draw. Move forward a decade to 91-92 where India knocked us over cheaply in the first innings, then we fought back to finally sneak home. Must admit there was some questionable umpiring decisions in this encounter. Unkindly, it might be called home team bias. In this test a famous leg spinner ,played his second test, failed to take a wicket. He was dropped for the following test in Perth.

    Any way, looking forward to a great clash here over the next five days.


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