After securing a memorable draw despite being battered and bruised, India head into the Gabba Test against Australia with the Border-Gavaskar Trophy very much alive.
The build-up to the final Test hasn’t been too encouraging for India, as reports of the visitors being unhappy with the hotel facilities in Brisbane emerging.
Nevertheless, India will also have to defy history if they are to win at the Gabba - Australia have not lost a single Test at the venue since 1988.
India have played six Tests at the Gabba, losing five while one ended in a draw.
The visitors are also battling unending injury woes, the latest being Jasprit Bumrah, who is set to miss out at the Gabba because of an abdominal strain.
5 times Indian batsmen flourished at The Gabba
As India prepare for the final Test, braving multiple odds, we look back at the top five batting performances by Indian players at the Gabba.
#1 Sunil Gavaskar 113 (December 1977)
India came tantalisingly close to beating Australia at the Gabba back in 1977, thanks to a stupendous fourth-innings century by Sunil Gavaskar.
The visitors were set a highly challenging 341 runs to clinch the Test. While India kept losing wickets at one end in the chase, Gavaskar held fort at the Gabba like only he could.
Occupying the crease for 320 minutes, he faced 264 balls to compile a magnificent 113. The patient knock featured 12 fours and gave the Aussies a real scare.
The Australian attack for this Test featured Jeff Thomson, Wayne Clark and Alan Hurst. And it was Clark who eventually ended Gavaskar’s resistance, having him caught behind.
India were 243 for 6 when Gavaskar perished at the Gabba, needing less than hundred runs for a famous victory. However, despite a brave 55 from Syed Kirmani and skipper Bishan Bedi’s unbeaten 26, the visitors were bowled out for 324, losing the Test by 16 runs.
#2 Sourav Ganguly 144 (December 2003)
Inarguably, it is among the most famous hundreds by an Indian player at the Gabba.
When India headed Down Under in 2003-04, not a lot of people gave Sourav Ganguly’s men much of a chance of competing. Those were still the days when India’s performances away from home were viewed with skepticism.
Ganguly, however, set the tone of the series for India with a captain’s knock in the truest sense. Batting first, Australia were restricted to 323 runs. But India needed to bat well to stay in the game.
After a half-century partnership between Aakash Chopra and Virender Sehwag, India crumbled to 62 for 3 when Sachin Tendulkar was back in the hut for a duck. Ganguly, however, stood tall and played an innings of the highest order.
In the build-up to the game, critics had predicted that Ganguly would be undone by the short stuff from Australia. But the Indian captain was up for the challenge and compiled a quite magnificent 144 off 196 balls.
Despite the absence of Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath, Australia had a decent bowling lineup featuring Jason Gillespie, Nathan Bracken, Andy Bichel and Stuart MacGill. However, Ganguly exercised his dominance over the hosts in no uncertain terms.
#3 ML Jaisimha 101 (January 1968)
It was an instance of another hundred by an Indian player in the fourth innings at the Gabba! Renowned for his flamboyance, ML Jaisimha nearly pulled off a famous win for his team in Brisbane in 1968.
India were set to chase an improbable 395 runs to win this Test at the Gabba. They crumbled to 61 for 3 before Rusi Surti (64) and skipper Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi (48) put up a show of defiance.
Still, no one expected India to get anywhere close to the target until Jaisimha batted on and on. He occupied the crease for 291 minutes and hit nine fours to lift India’s faint hopes at the Gabba.
Jaisimha found an able partner in Chandu Borde, and the duo lifted India from 191 for 5 to 310 for 6. Once Borde was dismissed for 63 though, Jaisimha was left with too much to do.
He reached a magnificent hundred but was last man out for 101. Despite putting up a stubborn resistance, India were bowled out for 355, going down by 39 runs at the Gabba.
#4 Murali Vijay 144 (December 2014)
Former opener Murali Vijay may no longer be in the scheme of things as far as Team India is concerned. But there was a point in time till a few years ago, when he was a pivotal member of India’s Test team.
At the top of the innings, Vijay could wear down attacks with his defiance and technique. He did something similar at the Gabba in 2014. India batted first after winning the toss, and Vijay put up an excellent display of batsmanship en route to a wonderful 144.
The well-equipped opener stood up to a tall Australian bowling lineup featuring Mitchell Johnson, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and Shane Watson.
Vijay rarely looked in any trouble during his 213-ball stay at the crease, hitting 22 fours. Thanks to his excellent knock, India posted an impressive 408 runs on the board.
The knock was to be in vain though as Steve Smith’s century and Johnson’s 88 lifted Australia to 505. A familiar Indian batting collapse in the second innings paved the way for the hosts' four-wicket triumph at the Gabba.
#5 Ajinkya Rahane 81 (December 2014)
India are still awaiting a fifth centurion at the Gabba. That’s how difficult things have been for Indian at the venue.
During his first tour of Australia in 2014-15, Ajinkya Rahane produced quite a few impressive knocks even as the team struggled.
Rahane's 81 at the Gabba was the perfect foil to Vijay’s 144 as India set about rebuilding their innings. The visitors were in trouble at 137 for 3 after losing Shikhar Dhawan (24), Cheteshwar Pujara (18) and Virat Kohli (19).
However, along with Vijay, Rahane kept a strong Australian bowling lineup at bay. Johnson, Hazlewood and Starc gave it their all, but could not dislodge the duo.
Rahane and Vijay added 124 runs for the fourth wicket to put India in a strong position at 261 for 4. After Vijay’s dismissal at the Gabba, Rahane looked set for a well-deserved hundred.
On 81 though, Rahane got an unplayable delivery from Hazlewood that angled in and moved away at the last moment, taking the edge.
India failed to cross 500 after Rahane’s dismissal. In hindsight, his wicket proved to be one of the major turning points as India went down at the Gabba yet again.Published 13 Jan 2021, 13:23 IST