Despite all the courage they displayed at the SCG to pull off a draw, India will head into the Gabba Test on the backfoot.
Going into the Brisbane encounter, their biggest challenge is to put together a team of 11 fit players. All-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and SCG hero Hanuma Vihari have already been ruled out of the Gabba encounter.
Further, with Jasprit Bumrah suffering an abdominal strain, the chances of him turning up at the Gabba are also minimal. India are also sweating over the fitness of Ravichandran Ashwin, who batted at Sydney with a sore back.
History hasn’t been kind to India at the Gabba as well. They have played six Tests at the Gabba, have lost five while one ended in a draw. And every cricket fan knows by now that the Aussies haven’t lost a Test at the Gabba since 1988.
5 times Indian bowlers flourished at the Gabba
As India prepare for the fourth Test against all odds, they can seek inspiration from some of their memorable bowling performances at the venue in the past.
#1. Erapalli Prasanna 6 for 104 (January 1968)
Former India off-spinner Erapalli Prasanna is the only Indian to have claimed a six-wicket haul at the Gabba. He achieved the feat during Australia’s second innings in the 1968 Test.
Having posted 379 in their first innings, Australia restricted India to 279. Prasanna then weaved his magic when the Aussies came out to bat a second time at the Gabba.
Prasanna broke the opening stand of 116, trapping Ian Redpath lbw for 79. He also cleaned up Ian Chappell for 27 and had wicket-keeper batsman Barry Jarman caught and bowled.
The slow bowler proved too good for the Aussie lower-order as he ran through the tail, sending back Eric Freeman, Alan Connolly and David Renneberg in no time.
Australia were all out for 294 in their second innings. Set 395 for victory, India battled hard to reach 355 courtesy ML Jaisimha’s 101, and went down fighting by 39 runs.
#2. Bishan Singh Bedi 5 for 55 (December 1977)
Another member of the famous Indian spin quartet, Bishan Singh Bedi also tasted success at the Gabba. He produced exceptional figures of 5 for 55 to skittle out Australia for 166 in the first innings of the 1977 Test.
After Mohinder Amarnath got opener Gary Cosier for 19, Bedi was all over the Aussie middle-order. He sent back David Ogilvie, Craig Serjeant and opposition skipper Bob Simpson in quick succession to have the hosts reeling at 43 for 4 at the Gabba.
The left-arm spinner later returned to dismiss wicket-keeper batsman Steve Rixon as well, but Peter Toohey held the Australian innings together with a hard fought half-century.
India needed the guile of Bedi to get past Toohey in the end. The latter made 82 before being stumped by Syed Kirmani off the Indian captain, as Bedi completed a memorable five-for at the Gabba.
Chasing 341 for victory, India fell tantalizingly close despite Sunil Gavaskar’s 113, losing the Test by 16 runs.
#3. Madan Lal 5 for 72 (December 1977)
If Bedi starred in the first innings of the 1977 Test at the Gabba, it was pacer Madan Lal’s turn to shine in the second.
Forever an unsung hero of Indian cricket, Lal produced a stupendous bowling performance to keep India in the hunt after the batsmen had capitulated to 153 in the first innings.
Having dismissed Gary Cosier for a duck, he then trapped the other opener Paul Hibbert lbw for 2. Mohinder Amarnath then cleaned up Craig Serjeant for 0 to have the Aussies reeling at 7 for 3.
Bob Simpson (89) and Peter Toohey (57), however, put Australia right back on top at the Gabba. Australia seemed to be running away with the contest before Lal engineered another fightback.
The medium-pacer got the wickets of Tony Mann, Steve Rixon and Wayne Clark to complete a wonderful five-for at the Gabba.
Despite two five-wicket hauls in the Test though India still ended up on the losing side as Australia found ways to scuttle the Indian challenge.
#4. Zaheer Khan 5 for 95 (December 2003)
India’s only draw at the Gabba, in December 2003, was as much about Zaheer Khan’s five-for as it was about Sourav Ganguly’s 144.
In fact, it was the left-arm seamer’s standout effort with the ball, after India elected to field having won the toss, that paved the way for the Indian captain’s heroics with the bat.
Australian openers Matthew Hayden and Justin Langer were looking dangerous, having added 73 for the opening wicket. Khan broke the stand by having Hayden caught on 37.
The left-armer kept chipping away at the wickets as Australia could never regain complete control after an impressive start.
Khan had Ricky Ponting caught behind after the set batsman crossed his fifty. Aussie skipper Steve Waugh fell hit-wicket to Khan without scoring.
Adam Gilchrist also perished for a duck to the same bowler while Simon Katich was caught behind for 16 as Khan completed a well-deserved five-for.
Australia were held to 323 at the Gabba, and India drew the contest on the back of Ganguly’s resolute century.
#5. Kapil Dev 4 for 80 (November 1991)
Even at the fag end of his career, the legendary Kapil Dev produced some praiseworthy performances with both bat and ball. One of them came at the Gabba in 1991 when, turning out for a weak Indian side, Kapil Dev returned with figures of 4 for 80.
India had batted first in this contest, and were bowled out for 239. The only way India could have stayed in the contest was if their bowlers could produce something special.
Geoff Marsh (47) and Mark Taylor (94), however, put India further on the back foot, adding 95 for the opening wicket. David Boon also chipped in with a half-century. At one stage, Australia were cruising at 244 for 2.
Enter Kapil Dev. The Indian pacer, bringing all his experience into play, got the massive wickets of Aussie skipper Allan Border (28) and Dean Jones (0), both clean bowled.
He proceeded to send back tailenders Merv Hughes and Craig McDermott cheaply to end with a credible four-for, restricting the Aussies to 340 at the Gabba.
Another Indian batting failure though paved the way for Australia’s 10-wicket triumph.Published 14 Jan 2021, 00:01 IST