As India and Australia prepare for the four-Test series, which will now begin with the opening Test at Adelaide on December 9, we look back at five fantastic batting performances by Indians Down Under during their recent visits.
Rahul Dravid: The first Test kicks off at Adelaide, and here is where Dravid played what arguably was the greatest Test innings by an Indian in Australia. India were under pressure after the Aussies posted a massive score on board, batting first courtesy a double hundred by Ricky Ponting. However, Dravid ensured that the advantage the hosts gained was nullified courtesy a brilliant knock of 233. The long vigil contained 23 fours and one six. VVS Laxman gave Dravid great company with 148. As a result India ended up getting very close to Australia's first-innings total. Then, after Ajit Agarkar ran through the Aussie line-up in the second innings, Dravid made a painstaking 72 not out to take India home.
VVS Laxman: Most of VVS' great knocks have come against the Aussies. Without an iota of doubt, the 281 at Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001 is his greatest. But, it was the year before in Sydney during the disastrous 1999-2000 tour that he gave the Aussies a glimpse of what was in store for them. The series was already lost, and had Laxman not performed in that game, he might never have played for India again. With his career on the line, he came in and caressed the ball marvellously en route to his career-changing 167 from 198 balls, with 27 sweetly timed boundaries. Opening the innings, he nearly batted through before falling to Brett Lee, caught behind. India still lost the match by a massive margin, and Australia crumpled the visitors 3-0. But, a Very Very Special player had arrived.
Virender Sehwag: The Delhi dasher's 195 at the famed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCC) was audacious even by Sehwag's own standards. The right hander went out there and butchered the Aussie attack into submission, smashing 25 fours and five sixes in his 233-ball knock. Sehwag was dismissed as he tried going for glory when on 195, trying to clear the field with a six, but falling in the deep. It was a sensational knock nevertheless. However, India collapsed immediately after Sehwag's departure. As a result they lost the advantage Sehwag had given them. Ponting then came up with his second consecutive double hundred of the series and, unlike in Adelaide, this wasn't in vain as Australia clinched victory by nine wickets.
Sachin Tendulkar: The Indian legend has played numerous memorable innings in Australia. But, we pick the 241 not out at Sydney in 2004, for the un-Tendulkar like manner in which it was scored. Tendulkar had been struggling for runs until then, and had been getting out constantly, hitting on the up on the off-side. Thus, at Sydney, he completely cut off the risk, not hitting a single of his 33 boundaries on the off-side. They were all manoeuvred towards the on-side. Tendulkar's 436-ball vigil was further proof of the adaptability of the great man. Although it wasn't a pleasing innings, it was a great one in a different sense. Thanks to Tendulkar's wonderful patience, India put up 700 plus on the board. The high-scoring game was drawn, and the series shared 1-1.
Virat Kohli: The talented Indian right hander notched up his maiden hundred against Australia at Adelaide in 2012. The series was already lost as India had been thrashed 3-0 in the earlier three matches. Still, Kohli's hundred was significant in that it gave Kohli the belief that he belongs at this level. His 116 lasted 213 balls, and featured 11 sweetly timed boundaries, and a six. It was a pleasing knock which gave India something to cheer about as they went down again. With the latest series also kicking off at the same venue, Kohli will be hopeful of an encore.
--By A Cricket Analyst