Following their innings defeat at Lord’s, Virat Kohli and his men trail 0-2 and have their backs firmly against the wall. Only once in the history of Test cricket has any team managed to come back from 0-2 down to win a five-match series. That occurred all the way back in 1936-37 when Australia rebounded from defeats in the opening two Tests to capture the series 3-2.
India don’t have much in the form of inspiration with regards to dramatic comebacks in Tests. However, they can take comfort from the fact that they have scripted fine wins in adverse conditions on overseas shores.
Here, we look at four of India’s most memorable overseas Test wins.
AUSTRALIA V INDIA, MELBOURNE 1981
In what was India’s fourth ever tour of Australia, the Sunil Gavaskar-led team endured a disappointing time in the Benson and Hedges World Series where they won just three of the 10 ODI matches.
When the attention shifted to the five-day format, India were thrashed by an innings in the first Test at Sydney. The visitors did well to hang on for a draw in the second Test before doing the unthinkable at Melbourne.
Gundappa Vishwanath’s 117 helped India post 237 in their first innings but the hosts replied by piling on 419 runs. Facing a huge first-innings deficit, Gavaskar and his opening partner Chetan Chauhan added 165 runs for the first wicket as India posted 324. Chasing just 143 for victory, Australia were bundled out for 83 in the final innings with Kapil Dev picking up a five-wicket haul to lead India to a memorable win.
WEST INDIA V INDIA, PORT OF SPAIN 1976
In their tour of the Caribbean in 1976, India started the series on a poor note as they were handed an innings defeat in the first Test. They dominated the second Test which ended in draw but once again found themselves on the back foot in the third match.
Viv Richard’s counter-attacking 177 helped the hosts post 359 in the first innings to which India could only reply with a total of 228. Having taken a first innings lead of 131 runs, West Indies declared their second innings at 271-6 to set India a mammoth target of 403.
Gavaskar once again turned hero for India with a fine 102 and he found able support in Mohinder Amarnath who scored 85. India ultimately chased down the target with six wickets to spare as they became only the second side in history to successfully chase a target of over 400 in the final innings.
AUSTRALIA V INDIA, ADELAIDE 2003
The Sourav Ganguly-led Indians started their 2003-04 tour of Australia on the front foot with an excellent draw in the first Test at Brisbane where the skipper led the way with a ton.
In the second Test at Adelaide, India were at the receiving end of a Ricky Ponting masterclass as the Aussie batsman’s 242 led the hosts to a gigantic total of 556 runs in their first innings.
India were in deep trouble at 85-4 before Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman stitched together a 303-run partnership. India ultimately posted 523 runs with Dravid scoring 233. The Test seemed headed for a tame draw when the hosts came out to bat on the fourth day before Ajit Agarkar’s sensational 6-41 saw them bowled out for 196 in the second innings. Chasing 230 in the final innings, Dravid was the star with the bat once again as his unbeaten 72 guided India to a four-wicket win.
SOUTH AFRICA V INDIA, DURBAN 2010
Sachin Tendulkar’s 50th ton went in vain as India were handed a comprehensive innings defeat in the first Test at Centurion.
In the second Test at Durban, Dale Steyn (6-50) ran through India’s batting line-up in overcast conditions as the visitors were bowled out for 205 in their first innings.
Zaheer Khan (3-36) and Harbhajan Singh (4-10) then shone with the ball for India as South Africa were bowled out for just 131 in their reply. With a 74-run first innings lead, India still found themselves in trouble at 56-4 in the second innings before Laxman played a gem of a knock (96) to help the side post 228 runs.
Chasing 303 to win in the final innings, South Africa’s batsmen struggled and were bowled out for 215 with Zaheer Khan (3-57) and S Sreesanth (3-45) delivering for India.
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