They say cricket is a batsman’s game. But the only way you can win a Test is by picking 20 wickets.
India and Australia are perhaps the two biggest cricketing giants today. The two sides have faced each other many times and the rivalry has grown over the years.
Let's go down memory lane and look at the top 5 bowling performances by Indians in the island country.
Mohammad Shami - 6/56 at Perth (2018 - 19)
Mohammed Shami became the first Indian bowler after 15 years to pick a six-wicket haul in a Test innings Down Under. His pace and bounce led to his career-best figures of 6/56 in the second innings of the second Test at Perth. Courtesy of his spell, India had a ray of hope even after a disastrous batting collapse in the first innings.
Shami’s contribution to Indian cricket has been outstanding. In the same tour, he set the record for the highest number of wickets in a calendar year by an Indian pacer.
Ajit Agarkar - 6/41 at the Adelaide Oval (2003 - 04)
India’s win in the second Test of the 2003-04 series is mainly remembered for Rahul Dravid’s 233 and VVS Laxman’s 148. However, Agarkar’s 6/41 in the second innings proved to be the final nail in the coffin for Australia.
After a draw in the first Test, the Adelaide Test started with a massive setback for India. A double century from Ricky Ponting took the Australians to a mammoth 556 runs in the first innings. The Dravid-Laxman partnership did the majority of the damage control. But it was Agarkar's brilliance that restricted the Aussies to 196 in the 2nd innings, eventually India up for a successful 230-run chase.
Anil Kumble - 8/141 at Sydney (2003 - 04)
Kumble’s 8/141 came on the back of legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s 241* that set up a huge 705-run total for India in the first innings against Australia at Sydney.
Australia did well as the opening partnership of Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer put up 147 run. Captain Sourav Ganguly then trusted Kumble to do the job. The bowling kingpin wiped out both Hayden and Langer, and picked up Ricky Ponting, Damien Martyn, Simon Katich, Brett Lee, Jason Gillespie, and Nathan Bracken for low scores. This also marked his career-best overseas bowling figures and showcased his mavericks in international cricket.
Kapil Dev - 8/106 at Adelaide (1985 - 86)
Former Indian captain, Kapil Dev’s 8/106 still stands as the best Test bowling figures in an innings Down Under. It was the first Test of 1985-86 Border-Gavaskar Trophy. India were playing Australia on Aussie grounds after 5-long years. Kapil Dev looked threatening with his variations and restrained Australia’s first innings total to 381. India put up a huge 520 on the board in response.
The best part about Kapil Dev’s spell was that he struck when it mattered the most. He dismissed Allan Border, David Boon, and Greg Ritchie – who were all set and looked to build a massive total. Courtesy of Kapil's spell, India were inches away from victory, requiring a single wicket to win. But Australia made a comeback and the Test eventually ended in a draw.
BS Chandrasekhar - 6/52 at the MCG (1977 - 78)
One of the finest Indian batsmen from the 70s - Gundappa Vishwanath once said, “You will never get another match-winner like Chandra.”
BS Chandrashekhar, is a true legend who overcame Polio to make his mark in international cricket. He returned magical figures of 6/52 in both innings of the third Test match in the 1977-78 series.
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India were already down 2-0 in the series before they headed into the third Test at MCG. Chandrashekar's spells helped India script a historical 222-run win. The Aussie batsmen tumbled, blown away by his wizardry.