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Three of Team India's famous comeback wins in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

Team India
Team India
ANALYST
Modified 02 Jan 2021, 20:52 IST
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Team India made a sensational comeback in the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy after beating Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) by eight wickets. The visitors had their backs to the wall after their horrific defeat in the first Test at the Adelaide Oval.

Team India were also without the services of skipper Virat Kohli (paternity leave) and fast bowler Mohammed Shami (fractured wrist) for the rest of the series. There were also doubts as to whether the Indian batting would be able to step up after their horror show in the first Test.

However, stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane led by example and scored, what is according to many, one of the finest hundreds by an Indian captain overseas. There were some impressive performances from debutants Shubman Gill and Mohammed Siraj as well. This win has surely lifted the spirits of Team India and they have come roaring back into the series.

But this was not the only time where the visitors had staged a comeback after being 1-0 down to the Aussies. Let's have a look at three such occasions where Team India showed their character and defied all odds by making a strong comeback in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Three of Team India's famous comeback wins in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy

#1 2001 Border-Gavaskar Trophy - 2nd Test (Kolkata)

Result: India won by 171 runs

Team India
Team India's win at Kolkata in 2001 was instrumental in changing the face of Indian cricket

Steve Waugh's Australian team were rampant and had dominated everywhere they played. But to beat India in their own den was what the then Australian skipper had termed as the 'Final Frontier'. Australia had begun their mission of winning a Test series in India with an emphatic 10-wicket win in the first Test at Mumbai.

Team India were under the pump going into the second Test at Kolkata. Australia batted first, and although young Harbhajan Singh became the first Indian to bag a Test hat-trick, the visitors posted a huge total of 445. In reply, the hosts were bundled out for just 171 and Steve Waugh decided to enforce the follow-on.

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A win for Australia would have sealed the series and would have completed their world domination. However, when the chips were down, two of India's most experienced batsmen in Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman stepped up and played the innings of their lives. The duo batted for an entire day without being separated and dominated the Australian bowlers. 

From a losing position, Team India turned the game on its head and scored 657-7 in their second innings, thanks to the humongous 376-run stand between Laxman and Dravid. While Dravid scored a well-made 180, Laxman scored his career-best 281 which put the hosts in the driver's seat.

The target of 384 was never going to be easy for the visitors and they got bowled out for just 212, falling short by 171 runs. This win for Team India instilled belief in them that they could stage a comeback from even the most difficult situations. This victory gave the hosts much needed momentum and they ended up winning the series 2-1.

#2 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy - 2nd Test (Bengaluru)

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Result: India won by 76 runs

Team India celebrates after beating Australia in a thrilling 76-run win at Bengaluru
Team India celebrates after beating Australia in a thrilling 76-run win at Bengaluru

Team India, under the captaincy of Virat Kohli, were enjoying an unbelievable home season in 2016-17 which saw them become the No.1 ranked Test team in the world. However, the Aussies hit them hard in the first Test of the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Pune and beat the hosts by a huge margin of 333 runs.

Team India had tasted a defeat after a long time and the fans demanded a response from the hosts. The second Test was to be played at Bengaluru and the momentum was with the visitors. Although Team India batted first, they were bowled out for just 189, with Nathan Lyon recording his best figures of 8-50. 

Australia scored 276 in their first innings and bagged a crucial lead of 87 runs. Team India's backs were against the wall yet again as they needed to score big in the second innings. Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane delivered a rearguard performance under immense pressure and added a crucial 118 runs. The hosts somehow managed to post a target of 188 for the Aussies.

Australia's chase was marred by controversy where skipper Steve Smith appeared to ask his dressing room whether he needed to take a DRS review. This moment spurred the Indian team and Kohli passionately began to marshall his troops. 

With 87 runs needed and six wickets in hand, Australia could smell a win that would have sealed the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in their favour. However, Mitchell Marsh's wicket off the bowling of Ravichandran Ashwin saw the floodgates open for Team India.

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They bundled out the visitors for just 112 and won the game by 76 runs. Like the 2001 series, a win in the second Test gave the hosts the momentum as they clinched the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2-1.

#3 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy - 2nd Test (Melbourne)

Result: India won by 8 wickets

Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane scored a brilliant hundred in Team India
Stand-in skipper Ajinkya Rahane scored a brilliant hundred in Team India's 8-wicket win at the MCG

Team India had begun the 2020-21 Border-Gavaskar Trophy on a positive note by dominating the first two days of the first Test at the Adelaide Oval. The visitors bagged a handy lead of 53 runs and looked to have batted Australia out of the pink-ball Test. 

However, what followed was one of the worst batting performances in the history of Test cricket. Team India were restricted to just 36 runs - their lowest-ever total in the history of the longest format. The target of 90 runs was never going to bother the hosts as they won the first Test by eight wickets.

After such a morale-crushing defeat, lots of questions were asked about the Indian batting and their credibility to compete against this rampant Australian side. Many former cricketers even wrote the visitors off, stating that the Aussies will thump Team India 4-0. With the absence of big-match players like Kohli and Shami, no one gave the visitors a chance.

However, Rahane brought a sense of calmness to the Indian dressing room and made them believe that they were capable of staging a strong comeback. Although Team India lost a crucial toss at the MCG, the Indian bowlers were bang on the money from the very first ball.

Jasprit Bumrah picked up four wickets and Ashwin supported him by picking up three, including the prized wicket of Steve Smith for a duck. The visitors bundled out the Australians for just 195 in their first innings.

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In reply, Team India had to bat well as they knew they were going to bat last on the tricky MCG wicket. At 64-3, the visitors looked set for another batting collapse. However, Rahane led from the front and scored a brilliant hundred, helping Team India take a huge lead of 131 runs in the first innings. 

Australian batsmen looked terribly short of confidence again as they were bundled out for just 200, setting the visitors a modest target of 70 runs to win the Test. Fittingly, Rahane hit the winning runs and levelled the series for Team India.

This win was special to the visitors, especially because it came in the absence of some of India's premier Test players. Team India will be hopeful of using this winning momentum to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Published 02 Jan 2021, 20:52 IST
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