Australia’s tour of India
On day one of the first test at Bombay, the Aussies were the unofficial world champions of test cricket and they looked it.
They ran through the Indian batting line up as if they were playing some county club. In 3 days, they had stretched their unbelievable test - victory run to 16. After much hype about being tigers on their home soil, the Indian challenge seemed to have fizzled out in just 2 days. The critics were singing the "we said so" song. The second test started at Eden Gardens, Calcutta… arguably the most beautiful cricket stadium in this part of the world. Day one saw the Aussies rip apart the Indian bowling, carting all the bowlers to all parts of the field. Day two was a red-letter day for Indian cricket, as Harbhajan Singh became the 1st Indian to claim a hat trick in test matches. India came back strongly to restrict the Aussies to less than 450 runs. Day three was back in Australia's favor as they bowled out the Indians and took the important wicket of Sachin. It seemed like it was all over… the last recognized batsmen were already in the middle, and India was struggling to save face from another inning's defeat. But on day four, there was a miracle at Eden… the Aussies couldn't get a single wicket in the whole day! Laxman became the highest scorer for India in a test match. Dravid was back in form with a big century to his name. India batted on till an hour before lunch on day 5. By then, they had already amassed an unassailable lead. India got some early breakthroughs, but midway through to tea; the bowlers could not make an opening into the Aussie tail. This was when Sachin proved his mettle as a match winner yet again. He came in and bowled some leg spinners, some off spinners, some leg breaks, off breaks, googlys, you name it! The batsmen were totally foxed, and Sachin got 3 quick wickets. After that, Harbhajan took over and despite some typical Aussie resistance towards the end; he managed to do a pretty good job of clearing up the tail.
India had done the impossible. They had come back from a follow on to defeat the "invincible" Aussies by 174 runs! What a feat!
From then on, it was India's run all the way through the tour. Even in the one-dayers, where everyone had predicted an Australian sweep before the tour began, India fought very well. Above all, they played fair…unlike the Aussies; who had openly cheated at their home stadium to beat India.
Though the Australians won the ODI series in the end, India had proven that they had it in them to do the impossible, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
And they had proven above all, that they could play mind games as well as their opponents. If not better. It seemed to be the first time that the Aussies had faced sledging in their whole life, and they didn't look as if they liked it.
All said and done, the future looks bright again for Indian cricket, and the best thing about the tour was that the youngsters fought hard when the big guns failed, and that the "never say die" spirit was in the Indian camp. The way Sachin braved the attack of the Australian bowlers symbolized the aggression and confidence the Indian team embodied throughout the tour.