Standout overseas wins are a rarity in the history of Indian cricket. Adelaide 2018 is a significant addition to this small exclusive club. As we savour the series lead. You can revisit five significant overseas wins since India started playing Test cricket in 1932
The Oval, 1971
England had a 71-run first-innings lead and looked in firm control. With a record of 15 defeats in 19 Tests at The Oval going into the match, Ajit Wadekar’s team needed something extraordinary. And then Bhagwat Chandrasekhar happened. He, in a spell of 18.1 overs, captured six wickets for only 38 runs to scuttle England for just 101. Needing 172 runs to win, the nerves multiplied when John Snow got Sunil Gavaskar out lbw for a duck. With India’s best batsman out, the captain had to play one of the most important knocks (45 runs) of his career to set up the run chase. That victory, by 4 wickets, was the best-ever in India’s history as it was against a full-strength England (355 & 101) playing at home and widely acknowledged as the best in the world at the time.
Down 0-1, captain Sourav Ganguly, prompted by the belief that India’s strength was spin bowling both at home and overseas, tried a gamble and played both Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble on a green wicket. And to give his spinners a crack at England in the second innings, he also decided to bat first. Rahul Dravid (148) played exceptionally well and then both Sachin Tendulkar (193) and Ganguly (128) followed up with hundreds — India 628/8d. Kumble and Harbhajan then shared eleven wickets between them to help India beat England (273 & 309) by an innings and 46 runs.
India’s four-wicket victory in Adelaide in 2003 involved one of India’s finest brands of cricket of all time. Australia had ended the first day at 400/5 and there was every reason for India to feel deflated. However, they refused to succumb to the pressure and, instead, came back firing all cylinders the next day. Even after the Australians had scored 550-plus, their shoulders did not drop. Rahul Dravid, the architect of the victory, played the match of his life scoring 233 and an unbeaten 72. In bowling, it was Ajit Agarkar who turned in figures of 6 for 41 to deliver the telling blow as Australia (556 & 196) lost to India (523 & 233/6) by 4 wickets.
Down 0-1 with Harbhajan under fire for Monkeygate, this was one of the most intense Test matches ever played. Sheer brilliance from Dravid and Tendulkar in the first innings meant Shaun Tait was rendered ineffective and India posted a competitive total of 330. With RP Singh, Irfan Pathan and the young Ishant Sharma bowling with intensity, Australia were bundled out for 212, handing India a commanding 118-run lead. Subsequently, when the Indians were bowled out for 294 in the second innings, thanks to a gritty 79 from Laxman, Australia had a mammoth 400-plus score to chase. Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey did put together a partnership and it took one of the best spells of fast bowling from Ishant to break it. Finally, it was RP Singh who bowled Tait in giving India a memorable win.
On a treacherous pitch, which was subsequently rated ‘poor’ by the ICC, and with four South African fast bowlers steaming in, the Proteas had done everything to make the most of home advantage. Determined to avenge 2015 and complete a 3–0 cleansweep, the Proteas had dismissed India for 187 & 247 and needed 241 to win the third Test. At one point, South Africa were 124 for 1 and seemed to be on course. Virat Kohli marshalled his troops dextrously and, with the help of Mohd Shami, wrapped South African innings for 177 registering a brilliant comefrom-behind victory.