India's 5 biggest defeats under Sourav Ganguly's captaincy
As batsman, Sourav Ganguly may have divided opinions. However, his strong captaincy is widely accepted as a game-changer in Indian cricket.
Ganguly took over as Indian skipper when the side was going through troubled times. The match-fixing scandal and Sachin Tendulkar's reluctance to take on the mantle did not deter Dada who grasped the role and made it his own over the next few years.
He transformed the Indian team's mentality overnight with his aggressive nature and went toe-to-toe with the likes of Steve Waugh, as the young side grew in confidence and new stars were born.
The likes of Virender Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh, Harbhajan Singh, Zaheer Khan and many other players blossomed under Ganguly and along with senior pros like Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman the Indian team became a force to be reckoned with, especially in overseas conditions.
Ganguly's reign as skipper is seen as a golden era in Indian cricket, but there were a few losses which were uncharacteristic of the fighting spirit and brilliance it showed more often than not.
Let us now take a close look at India's five biggest defeats suffered under Ganguly's captaincy. These matches are not listed based on the margins of defeat. Instead, they have been categorised based on their importance as well as on thequality of the opposition.
#5 Against Australia in Sydney (2004 VB series)
The 2004 VB series followed the iconic Test series between India and Australia which saw Ganguly's side battle hard against the then dominant Australian outfit. The visitors had earned a memorable 1-1 draw in the four-match Test series, pouring cold water on Steve Waugh's dreams of a perfect farewell.
The fighting spirit that the side displayed in the longest format went terribly missing though in the 50-over format as the tri-series, featuring Zimbabwe as the third side, saw India winning only one of the 4 matches they played against the hosts in the group stages.
Wins against the African minnows saw India make it to the best-of-3 finals against Ricky Ponting's side but the results hardly changed. In fact, the second final played at the SCG turned out to be the biggest loss on the tour for India as they suffered a 208-run defeat.
In a hammering rendered to the Indian bowling attack in a similar manner as the 2003 World Cup final less than 12 months ago, Matthew Hayden's 122-ball 126, saw the hosts pile on 359 in their 50 overs.
Ganguly used as many as 7 bowlers to try and rein in the attack but with little success as the Australian batsmen smashed them to all parts of the ground.
In reply, the Indian batting offered little fight as the star-studded line-up folded away cheaply with youngster Irfan Pathan ending up as the top-scorer with a knock of 30. India were bowled out for a paltry total of 151 runs with more than 16 overs to spare.
Having started the tour on a very good note, the 208-run loss in the final match would have been a bitter pill to swallow for Ganguly, no doubt.