The man who has transformed into a quintessential leader, changed the face of Indian cricket at the turn of the century and announced to the world that hsi nation is no longer the sightseeing party and that they mean business, is better known as Sourav Ganguly. My Nation chose to go down memory lane to reminisce some of the extra-ordinary triumphs undet the leadership of the Prince of Kolkata.
Known for the aggressive brand of cricket that Sourav Ganguly brought to the Indian team and changing the notion of them being ‘lions at home and lambs away’, My Nation have compiled a list of the six matches where Dada and his men roared and ripped the opposition apart!
Ganguly’s success as a captain is highlighted by the way his men fought on overseas Test tours, but there are some equally amazing victories at home, which made Indians proud.
Miracle at Eden (India vs Australia, 2nd Test - March, 2001)
Australia were the most feared opponents in the International Cricket arena and it is against them that Dada’s men rose like phoenixes amongst ashes and knocked out the mighty Aussies, halting their streak of 16 consecutive Test wins in the process. Reeling at 232-4 in the second innings on Day 3, still needing 43 to make the visitors bat again, VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) added 376 runs while staying unbeaten for the entire length of the fourth day. A challenging declaration by Ganguly left Steve Waugh’s men to get 384 on the fifth day. They were spun out for 212 by Harbhajan Singh and Sachin Tendulkar.
India vs Australia, 3rd Test - March, 2001
In the next match of the 2000-01 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, Waugh’s dreams of conquering the ‘final frontier’ – the name he used to describe that India tour were shattered because of impeccable leadership by Ganguly. The Australians, even after scoring 391 in the first innings, couldn’t dampen the spirits of Ganguly’s men as Tendulkar’s century powered the hosts to 501 in reply. Harbhajan backed up the seven wickets from first innings with an 8-for in the second. Needing 155 to win, India lost eight wickets, but little contributions here and there were enough.
India vs England, 3rd Test - August, 2002
India hadn’t won a Test match in England for 16 long years, and then found themselves 1-0 down in the four-match series. Dravid (148), Tendulkar (193) and Ganguly (128), all scored centuries in the first innings at Leeds to post a mammoth score of 628. England were bundled out for 273 in the first innings, were asked to follow-on but fortunes didn’t change as they were dispatched for 309 in the second. An innings and 46-run win helped India level the series.
India vs Australia, 2nd Test - December 2003
Ganguly’s men drew first blood at Adelaide after a spirited performance in the opening game at Brisbane. India were again smarting from a huge first innings total of 556 struggling at 85-4. A partnership of 303 runs between Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman led India to safety. Dravid was the main man with 233 runs to his name, while the Hyderabad lad played a supporting role scoring 148 runs. Ajit Agarkar wreaked havoc during the second innings, taking six wickets as the Aussies only managed to set a target of 230 runs. Dravid, with a well-made 72, again proved to be a thorn in the hosts’ flesh guiding India to a win after 23 years.
India vs Pakistan, 3rd Test - April, 2004
The three-match series was locked at 1-1 going into the third and final Test and India romped to an innings and 131-run victory to seal their first Test series triumph on the arch-rivals’ soil. While Irfan Pathan, Lakshmipathy Balaji and Ashish Nehra outdid the Akhtars and Samis, Dravid took the responsibility upon himself to crush Pakistan’s hopes of a comeback after getting bundled out for 224 in the first innings. Dravid brought up his highest Test score of 270, while Laxman (71) and Ganguly (77) chipped in with vital contributions to take India’s first innings total to 600. Needing 377 to make India bat again, Pakistan were torn apart by Anil Kumble and Balaji for 245, resulting in a historic series win.
India vs England, Natwest Series Final - July 13, 2002
English are known for their propriety and straight jacketed outlook. This however was seriously endangered by a young player who expressed joy at his nations win in a manner both unheard and unabashed.
In a match which England had pre decided to play with aggression and dominance, both Sehwag and Ganguly reported to the call of duty in the most ruthless manner. 100 was up before the 15th over. However disaster struck and India was 146 for 5 in the 24th over and the required run-rate was about seven.
Yuvraj Singh tried to manage the game but when he was dismissed 59 was required of 50 balls.
Finally after the unimaginable winning score by Zaheer Khan with Mohammad Kaif holding the ground on the other end, Sourav Ganguly expressed the joy that was coursing through the veins of every Indian. The shirt coming off remains one of the most iconic moments in cricketing history.
Last Updated 9:42 PM IST