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Odds stacked against India at SCG

Cricketnext.com
Jan 02, 2012 at 04:20pm IST

While two of their most important players, Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman, have great records at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the venue for the second Test hasn't been a happy hunting ground for India as a whole. Here's a look at how India have fared at the SCG down the years.

2nd Test, 1947 – Match drawn

A rain-marred match ended in a draw, with less than ten hours' cricket being possible during six days. On a tough track, India were bowled out for 188 after Lala Amarnath opted to bat. From 16 for 2, India reached 38 without further loss on the opening day before losing two wickets on the second after play resumed an hour late. From 95 for 6, Gogumal Kishenchand (44) and Dattu Phadkar (51) added 70 but a total of 188 was poor.

Odds stacked against India at SCG

With just one win from nine visits, India's collective success in Sydney leaves much to be desired.

Australia rounded off the day on 28 for 1, but there was no play possible on days three and four. On the fifth, they lost Arthur Morris, Don Bradman and Lindsay Hassett cheaply and only Keith Miller (17) and Ron Hamence (25) were able to offer resistance with the bat as the hosts were bundled out for 107. Phadkar and Vijay Hazare took seven wickets between themselves.

With a lead of 81, India lost seven wickets for 71 runs but any prospects of a result where smashed when rain ensured there was no play on the sixth day.

4th Test, 1968 – Australia won by 144 runs

Put in to bat, Australia mustered 317, with the captain Bill Lawry (66), Paul Sheahan (72) and Doug Walters (92 not out) rallying at the top against a disciplined Indian attack. India, in reply, made 268, with Bob Simpson taking three wickets with his spin. Simpson triggered a collapse as India squandered a strong start, and quick bowler Eric Freeman took four wickets.

A century from Bob Cowper (165) carried Australia to 292 in their second innings, and then it was over to Simpson who took 5 for 59 as the hosts eased to victory. With four Indian wickets needing to be taken on the final day, Simpson took three in seven deliveries. For India, only Abid Ali (78 and 81) made a noticeable impression.

4th Test, 1978 – India won by an innings and two runs

India gained the ascendency on day one by bowling out Australia for 131 and then being let off by the home team's catchers. On a damp pitch, Bishan Singh Bedi and BS Chandrasekhar took 3 for 49 and 4 for 30 respectively to bundle Australia out in four hours, with the highest score of the innings being Simpson’s 38. Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan gave India their best start of the series, adding 97 for the opening wicket.

A mini-collapse ensued on day two as India lost the openers and Mohinder Amarnath, but Gundappa Viswanath made the most of two lives on 10 and 27 to score a gritty 79. Aiding him was Dilip Vengsarkar (48) who was also reprieved early in his innings, and the pair put on 125. An 81-run stand for the seventh wicket helped India take the lead, with Syed Kirmani scoring a brisk 42.

In the second innings it was Erapalli Prasanna (4 for 51) who spun a web around the Australians. Gary Cosier scored a determined 68 and Peter Toohey 85, but there was not enough support. India had won just their second Test on Australian soil.

1st Test, 1981 – Australia won by an innings and four runs

In the series opener, Greg Chappell marked his first Test against India – he had been a Test player for a decade already – by scoring a magnificent 204, the highest score by an Australian against India. His innings, spanning nearly seven hours across two days, was notable because Chappell had also been taken ill by a stomach bug when he was on 41.

Gavaskar's decision to bat came a cropper as India were dismissed for 201 on a lively pitch. The notable score came from Sandeep Patil (65) as the top order all squandered starts against Dennis Lillee and Len Pascoe, who took four wickets apiece. Kapil Dev gave his team a good start by removing the Australian openers cheaply but Chappell cut loose and swung the momentum back the hosts' way.

With a big lead, Australia proceeded to trample over the Indians, who were bowled out for 201 in less than a day. The batting was lamentable, with no batsman reaching fifty. Jim Higgs, the legspinner, was the chief beneficiary of India’s ineptitude with 4 for 45.

3rd Test, 1986 – Match drawn

India made first use of the track and posted 600 for 4, their highest total overseas. Where no Indian had registered a century at the SCG, here the top three – Gavaskar, Vengsarkar and Kris Srikkanth – all cashed in on a hard surface.

Gavaskar and Srikkanth put on 191 for the opening wicket, the latter raising three figures off just 97 deliveries having been dropped at first slip on 2. Gavaskar – reprieved on 3 and 27 – and Amarnath put on the highest stand for any Indian wicket against Australia, after which Kapil and Mohammad Azharuddin hit breezy knocks to force a declaration.

Australia replied with their highest opening partnership against India, a terrific 217 between David Boon (131) and Geoff Marsh (92), also a ground record at the SCG. India claimed three wickets for 44 runs on day four after rain had reduced play, and with 54 runs to avoid the follow-on Australia lost Allan Border. That sparked a stupendous collapse of 5 for 9, with Ravi Shastri and Shivlal Yadav turning the ball sharply, and India enforced the follow on.

A match that looked to be heading for a draw was suddenly sparked to live by some inept batting on the final day. With just over four hours remaining, Australia’s openers batted 72 minutes before another collapse followed, triggered by Shastri and Yadav. Greg Ritchie’s 166-minute 17 helped Australia salvage a draw.

3rd Test, 1992 – Match drawn

The match in which a plump, blonde Shane Warne debuted is remembered more for Shastri's double-century that helped India earn a draw. The Indians, after putting Australia in on a hard pitch, did well to dismiss them for 313 after Boon’s unbeaten 129. Kapil, Manoj Prabhakar and the debutant seamer Subroto Banerjee each took three wickets.

By stumps on day two, India had lost Navjot Sidhu and Sanjay Manjrekar, but Shastri and Sachin Tendulkar took the bowlers to task. Shastri's 201 spanned nine and a half hours, and he shared India's highest ever fifth-wicket partnership (196) against Australia with Tendulkar, who later became the youngest man to score a Test century in Australia. His innings lasted 298 minutes.

The quicks reduced Australia to 55 for 3, and then Shastri took three wickets to make the score 114 for 6. Border, first in the company of Merv Hughes and then Warne, batted out a tense draw.

3rd Test, 2000 - Australia won by an innings and 141 runs

It was a clinical win for a Steve Waugh-led side, achieved inside three days to seal Australia's second clean sweep of the summer. Tendulkar's decision to bat despite rain have delayed the start came a cropper, as Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee ran through the line-up in 68 overs. Tendulkar’s 53-ball 45 was the best India could manage, with Ajit Agarkar becoming the first batsman in Test history to be dismissed for four straight first-ball ducks.

From 49 for 2, Australia rallied to 552 for 5, with Justin Langer overcoming his initial struggles to post 223, the highest score by an Australian against India. His innings was spread over eight hours 43 minutes, in which he faced 355 balls and hit 30 fours. Mark Waugh – in his 100th Test - and Steve Waugh chipped in with 38 and 52 respectively, and Ricky Ponting took an unbeaten 141 off the Indian attack.

India's reply was snuffed at 33 for 3, with McGrath following five wickets in the first innings with another five-for. Tendulkar made 4, Agarkar equaled the unenviable record of five successive ducks in Test innings, and India were given some honour in defeat by VVS Laxman, who laced the ball to all parts of the SCG in his 167 off 198 balls.

4th Test, 2004 – Match drawn

Steve Waugh's 168th and final Test ended in a draw, with the series spoils shared after four engaging matches against Sourav Ganguly's brave men. It was a gripping Test, with India dominating after Ganguly won the toss and opted to bat under a blazing hot sky. Virender Sehwag blazed 72, and then an out-of-form Tendulkar shut out his off-side play to script a monumental unbeaten 241, his highest first-class score. Making a conscious effort to play the ball to leg - 28 of his 33 boundaries and 188 of his runs came to the on-side - Tendulkar scored his 32nd Test century to match Steve Waugh and crossed 9,000 career runs in the process.

His fourth-wicket alliance of 353 with Laxman (178) was an Indian record. Laxman wowed the crowd with an innings of dazzling beauty and sublime strokes, helping Ganguly declare the innings at 705 for 7 - India's highest Test total, and the second-highest conceded by Australia.

Australia's openers put on 147, with Matthew Hayden scoring 67. Langer battled his way to another century against India and Simon Katich his maiden Test century, an excellent 125. Anil Kumble plugged away manfully to lead India’s bowling, and his 8 for 141 went a long way in securing India a 231-run lead.

Ganguly was criticized for not enforcing the follow-on, and Rahul Dravid (91*) and Tendulkar (60*) extended the lead to 442. At 196 for 4 on day five, Australia were seen out of any potential trouble by Waugh and Katich, who starred in a superb passage of batting. Waugh’s final innings ended on 80 when he swung Kumble to the deep and he received an emotional standing ovation from his Sydney faithful. Katich weighed in with an unbeaten 77, Kumble had 12 for the match, and India had failed to close out a win that would have given them their first series success on Australian soil.

2nd Test, 2008 – Australia won by 122 runs

A Test which ended in nail-biting tension was marred by the infamous 'Monkeygate' episode at the SCG, which led to the banning of Harbhajan Singh for three matches after he was alleged to have racially abused Andrew Symonds, by match referee Mike Procter. The punishment for Harbhajan was later reduced to a 50 percent fine.

As many as six decisions went against the Indians, three of which went in Andrew Symonds' favour, who smashed an unbeaten 162 in Australia’s first innings' 463. India replied with 532, thanks to splendid centuries from Tendulkar and Laxman, but the bowlers again struggled. Hayden and Michael Hussey took centuries off an attack failing to provide support to the indefatigable Kumble – eight wickets in the match – and Australia’s second-innings 401 for 7 left India to chase a target of 333.

India strugggled to forge partnerships, but the dependable duo of Dravid and Ganguly appeared to have restored some order by staying together for more than an hour to take the Test into the final session. Then umpire Steve Bucknor was involved in another moment of high controversy. Having been roundly castigated for failing to give Symonds caught behind on day one, he awarded the Australians a tenuous appeal for a catch at the wicket which ended Dravid's innings.

If the decision looked bad enough in real time, replays showed bat and glove firmly tucked behind the batsman's pad, and several inches away from the path of the ball. It was a vital wicket, as Dravid had seen off 103 deliveries for his 38 runs.

Three balls later, Yuvraj Singh got a genuine edge to Symonds and Australia were in the ascendancy again. An extraordinary incident seven overs later added to India's woes, and again there was controversy as Michael Clarke dived forward to claim a catch to end Ganguly's innings on 51. Replays were inconclusive as to the catch's validity but the umpires, apparently unsighted, accepted Clarke and Ponting's word that the catch was a good one - Ponting even raising his own finger as though giving the batsman out.

Kumble and MS Dhoni took play into the final hour, before Symonds - having switched from medium pace to off-breaks - struck for the third time. With Brad Hogg unable to gain a breakthrough, Ponting's final throw of the dice was to go for a third spinner in Clarke. Bowling his slow left-armers that had never brought him a Test wicket in Australia, Clarke took three wickets in an over during the dying moments of the match to give the hosts a dramatic victory by 122 runs.

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