5 Golden innings from Indians you cannot forget
This is a new era of batsmanship. When you look at the last decade, it was dominated by batsmen because of the introduction of the T20 format. Even though we have had some close contests between the ball and the bat in the longer format, the shorter format hasn't been kind to the bowlers.
Every ODI is more or less about defending or chasing in excess of 320 which leaves the bowler with limited options. There was a time where bowlers stepped up to defend a 200 odd total comfortably. Because of flat pitches and boundaries becoming easy to clear, an undesirable advantage is with the batsmen.
In the longer format, it has been an even contest, you can't run away with the game smashing, but you will have to apply yourself and play with lot of grit and determination. In the late 90s and early 2000s, pitches were a lot green with the outfield not as quick.
Fortunately, India was able to produce some of the legends of the game during that period. It was not just about their technique, but the way they used to apply themselves to take the team out of trouble.
If you would ask me to chose my Test team of 21st century, it would be Sehwag and Gambhir at the top, Dravid at 3, Sachin at 4, Ganguly at 5 and Laxman at 6. You cannot have an eleven without Kumble and Zaheer. I was fortunate enough to be born in that period where the GOLDEN GENERATION was at its peak.
I still remember the Adelaide test match where Dravid played one of the finest innings in the history of Indian cricket. I, as a 7 year old used to wake up at 5 in the morning just to see them complete centuries, be it Ganguly's ton in Brisbane, Sehwag's quickfire 195 on the boxing day or Sachin's 241 at the SCG.
It gives me goosebumps when writing about this, even today. I was privileged to be able to witness some of the greatest innings in the history of the game. It's unfair to rate them, but all have their favorites, so do I. Here are the 5 best knocks according to me:
#1 Very Very Special Laxman's '281' against the 'mighty' Aussies in 2001-02 series:
That day Aussies decided never to enforce follow-on when playing against the Indians, such was the impact of this innings on them. They had a massive 274 run lead over the hosts and were pretty confident in winning this match and go up 2-0 in the series. But Laxman had different plans.
We got a decent start but found ourselves in deep trouble after Ganguly's departure at 232/4. And the rest was history. With Dravid and Laxman on the crease, the hosts had a huge task at hand. Facing the likes of McGrath, Gillespie, Warne and Kasprowicz, they decimated the attack with a 376-run partnership.
Laxman scored a mammoth 281 which was voted as the best innings in the last 50 years. It would be a blunder if I don't mention Dravid's 180 which helped us set a target of 384. Australia crumbled for 212, thanks to a 6 wicket haul from Harbhajan and vital 3 wickets by Sachin. The loss brought an end to 16-match winning streak of the Aussies.