As the sun set on the Punjab Cricket Association stadium in Mohali, the fans in attendance of the second Test between India and Australia went home with cherished memories. To watch Sachin Tendulkar bat while sitting in the stands is a dream of every Indian cricket fan, and to witness him breaking a record is something else altogether.
It was 2:31 p.m on a hot Friday afternoon at Mohali when Sachin steered a Peter Siddle delivery to the third man boundary and by doing so, he broke the record of the scoring the most runs ever in Test cricket. A record that stood for nearly 2 years, which was set by Brian Lara was finally broken by the Little Master.
The disappointingly small crowd at the PCA stadium, which was mainly built of school kids were on their feet as Sachin celebrated the feat in the same way he celebrates a century – by removing his helmet and raising his bat to the sky. Sourav Ganguly, who was his partner at the other end was exuberant as he hugged Sachin and congratulated him. The duo went on to amass a partnership of 142 runs for the 5th wicket with Ganguly scoring a scintillating century.
As Sachin went on to reach his 50th Test half-century, he became the first man to cross the 12000 run mark in Test cricket. Of course, he was followed by Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and India’s very own Rahul Dravid. Coincidentally, Lara had broken the record against Australia too at Adelaide in 2005.
Sachin went on to score 88 runs off 111 deliveries with 10 fours and no sixes.
The beginning of MS Dhoni’s reign as Test captain
Along with Sachin Tendulkar, India’s most successful ODI captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni made his debut as Test captain in the very same match. Although he was a stand-in for Anil Kumble who was out injured, Dhoni could not have asked for a better start to his captaincy reign as India defeated Australia by 320 runs, which turned out to be the biggest ever win regarding runs for India back then. He was also named the man of the match for scoring 170 runs in the entire game.
Dhoni had already made his name among the fans and selectors alike by leading India to a memorable T20 World Cup win in 2007 followed by a historic ODI series win against Australia down under earlier in 2008.
Dhoni won his first toss as Test captain and chose to bat first. India managed a highly respectable total of 469 in the first innings led by Sourav Ganguly’s century and Sachin Tendulkar’s historic knock off 88. Dhoni himself shone with the bat as he fell 8 runs of a century, scoring 92 off 124 deliveries with 4 sixes and 8 fours.
As India reduced Australia to 268 in their first innings, Dhoni chose not to enforce the follow-on against the Kangaroos, and his decision paid dividends as India scored 314 for the loss of only 3 wickets in the 2nd innings at almost 5 runs per over led by Gautam Gambhir’s century.
During Australia’s 2nd innings, the Indian bowlers ripped through their batting line-up as they were dismissed for 195, thus resulting in a comprehensive victory for India. Dhoni officially took over as Test captain in the 4th Test of the series after Kumble’s retirement.
Dhoni enjoyed reasonable success as Test captain for India as he led India to 27 wins in 60 matches. They suffered 18 defeats and were held to 15 draws during his reign which lasted from 2008-2014 after which Virat Kohli took over.