Samir Chopra January 12, 2011

India's Great Misses, Part Three

The first two misses in this series of great misses - India's failure to pull off a run-chase at the Oval in 1979, and to bowl out the Aussie tail and then mount a small fourth-innings chase at the MCG in 1985 - were falls at the last hurdle
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The first two misses in this series of great misses - India's failure to pull off a run-chase at the Oval in 1979, and to bowl out the Aussie tail and then mount a small fourth-innings chase at the MCG in 1985 - were falls at the last hurdle. But for the third entry in this series, there is no one such moment of failure (as there wasn't in the recently concluded India-South Africa third Test). Instead, a series of small fatal errors added up, ultimately corroding India's push for a win, which would have ranked, in terms of historical significance, right up there with India's 1979 Oval Test. I feel the failure in this Test all the more keenly because along with the Bridgetown Test of 1997, it is the Test that I witnessed the greatest proportion of in the flesh: I spent four out of its five days at the SCG.

Welcome then to the SCG in January 2004. India had already pulled off a great miss in the MCG Test, where they had subsided from 278 for 1 to 366 all out, and the later, in the second innings, when, chasing a lead of 192, they had moved 61 runs ahead, with six wickets in hand, on their way to setting Australia either an awkward target or saving the game, they suddenly subsided to 286 all out.

Thus India had failed to protect their 1-0 lead by the time they got to Sydney. When they left Sydney, they had failed to pull off an epic win, one which would have done for Sachin Tendulkar what the Oval Test could have done for Sunil Gavaskar. They failed to dramatically end the Waugh era with a dethroning that would have ensured a dramatic crowning for the Indians. They had failed to pull off a series win against an Australian team reckoned the greatest in the modern era. (Yes, McGrath and Warne weren't playing; the perfect time to pull off an ambush was at hand!)

The first note of worry came, ironically, after India had piled up a gigantic first-innings score. Did India delay their declaration? When India failed to bowl out Australia on the final day, that became the refrain amongst the cognoscenti. But I didn't think so then. As I walked home that day from the SCG, worrying about the declaration, I consoled myself with the thought that pressing on for 700 could perhaps help the Indians attack more, set more aggressive fields.

Later, with hindsight, as I saw Hayden and Langer open, I realised that the Aussies, who were not about to be cowed down by that score, would have had a harder time opening late on the 2nd day.

That Hayden-Langer opening stand (which made mincemeat of Agarkar's bowling figures) was the beginning of the end. As the pair attacked, I sensed some panic on the field. India looked bedraggled all of a sudden; was this really a team defending 700? I suspect the memory of that assault struck fear into Ganguly's heart.

Still, by the end of the third day, India had taken some vital steps towards a win. They had prised out six vital wickets; Australia were still 164 runs away from saving the follow-in; two days were left; India could push aggressively in a variety of ways on the last two days to win this game.

Things went wrong soon after Lee fell early on the fourth day, for Katich and Gillespie frustrated the Indian advance. When Australia were finally bowled out, though they had not saved the follow-on, they had removed it a possibility. Ganguly was not going to subject his bowlers (and fielders) to another stint on a flattish wicket after they had bowled 117 overs.

To their credit, India batted positively in the second innings, rattling up 211 at almost five an over. Again, the timing of their declaration might have been disputed: why didn't Ganguly declare half an hour earlier, giving the openers an awkward moment or two, while remaining confident about his ability to prevent Australia from scoring 400 or so? Here, the memory of the Hayden-Langer stand played a vital part in dampening any such adventurousness.

On the last day, Ganguly appeared bereft of ideas other than getting Kumble to bowl from one end, as he sent down 42 out of the 94 overs eventually bowled (Pathan only bowled eight overs in the second innings). Ganguly's' fields were excessively diffident; at any given moment, the fear that Australia might suddenly launch an attack and pull off the unlikeliest of wins appeared to be uppermost in the Indian captain's mind. At one point in that dismal, overcast afternoon at an SCG that was, surprisingly, not packed to capacity, I realised that India would be very, very happy with a 1-1 drawn series.

And so it came to pass, that a glorious opportunity to ensure all sorts of cricketing immortality was missed. Tendulkar's twofer of 241 and 60 (both not out) would have passed into cricketing lore as the greatest of all batting achievements by an Indian. Would anyone have doubted his ability as a matchwinner? (What would we think of Laxman's 96 in the Durban Test if the Indian bowlers hadn't bowled out the hosts?) More importantly, a series win over Waugh's Aussies in Australia, in Waugh's final test? Be still, my beating heart.

As the Test wound down, the Indians appeared caught up in the Farewell to Waugh[tm], all too happy to be sharing in the glory of his final test, seemingly unaware they had missed out on a chance of glory for themselves. It was Waugh's last act of mental disintegration.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

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  • Kumble vs Kartik on January 26, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    No one has mentioned another bowler playing at Sydney, the villain of the piece: Murali Kartik.

    In the first innings Kumble had figures 46.5/7/141/8, while Kartik had 19/1/122/0. I rest my case.

    M Kartik 19 1 122 0 6.42

  • Dipak Basu on January 26, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    How can you say Indians bowled defensively. I watched every ball of the closing over with the limpet-like Katich and Gillespie, with newly found batting ability, grimly held on. They were surrounded by fielders as Kumble bowled variation after variation. Every ball could have been a wicket. Even in the last over we could have won the game if Kumble broke through.

  • Debasis on January 24, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Hey all stop be critical of the God of Cricket. when India were shot out at 81 chasing 120 in WI, wht were other batsmen doing. As if BCCI pays Sachin only and others play free of cost. Why did not Saurav force follow on at Sydney, why he was waiting for Dravid to score century in second innings at Sydney, declaration in 2nd inns came only when Dravid was hit on head by Lee's bouncer. If you analyze India's great wins in past few years, you will find Sachin has contribution to India's win either with bat or bowl- take Adelaide-04, perth-08, Multan-03, Kolkatta-01. Please do not disrespect the great man, we should be proud of him

  • Abhinav on January 20, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    guys..wat this fuss is all about...first..someone malik froom russia...brother...india are 2-1 up in series by th time m writing here..and u have got ur answers regarding our preparatioins..come 2011 WC and 2nd April..watch the result..then paste something here..and u talking about strong captain..it z about CAPTAIN who has always backed his players..Dhoni is going great..and he has that in him to deal with it..u stop giving those comments...ok

    and regarding this miss..actually we start expecting alot always..india dominated that series..totally and we shouldnt forget that AUS was also a great team that time..they played well..and as catches win u games..so parthiv's deeds led to india not getting thaat glory...it happens..and people talkng about SACHIN nt a match winner...CHENNAI TEST century against england..that historic chase on 5th day..was nt it..???and against aussies in india..first innings second test..it z sachin who has been the god in indian cricket..so better respect him

  • Jitesh chandan on January 20, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    what about the miss at the mohali test when only 3 wickets were required on a last day with also a first inning lead of about 150 odd runs in the hand and to register a series win against arch rival pakistan but opportunity lost.Abdul razzak and Kamran Akmal...............still have a pain..

  • Jitesh chandan on January 20, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    one more miss i would like to mention was the match which gave the aussies there much wanted and awaited series win in india after about 30 years when the last day was washed away by the rain ,some 220-230 odd runs were required and sehwag the great was playing so efficiently at the end of fourth day but rain ruined and match drawn.Aus 2-1 but i would also like to mention here that if there are misses then there many gains also for india which are misses for other teams and especially here in India .i would like to have that article also.congrats to team india for there winning streak presently.

  • krayG on January 20, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    @Bitter Truth I suppose Aussies wud nevr think they lost till they finally get whitewashed 5-0 in a test series by Bangladesh. Some wud still blame it to the unavailability of Warne and McGrath and Hayden and Gilly and so and so on till the country completes spelling all those who in the past wore the baggy green caps.

  • dipjyoti banik on January 20, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    i completely agree with bharat.people dont miss asecond's opportunity to put the blame on Tendulkar..They forget the innumerable number of times he won or saved India the game,they remember Laxman's 281,but tend to forget the three magic balls Tendulkar bowled to get Aussie's three most priced scalps,they say Tendulkar was slow with a SR of 55 whereas Laxman was bliztering at a SR of 59.They forget Mumbai test which India won against England chasing a record total,Bangalore test against the Aussie.Someone even called Tendulkar selfish,in this thread,said he was chasing Gavaskar's 236..and i wonder,what else does he has to achieve,for people to stop criticizing him.Anyways,i don't mean to disrespect any player,because I know each and every great player has played for their country and WHEN YOU ARE OUT THERE IN THE MIDDLE,THERE'S NOTHING ELSE IN YOUR HEAD,NO NOT EVEN YOUR PERFORMANCE,AND YOU JUST WANT TO GIVE 100% FOR THE TEAM YOU PLAYING.

  • Gourab D. on January 19, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    The article is not well thought, not well understood and lacks some facts. It is just an opinion which is not backed by facts. The real blunder in the test was the misses by Parthiv Patel. hat could have been one of the most major reasons for the miss. Hope the next time the entire match is scrutinized before readers are made to read quality things in the website.

  • Prashanth on January 19, 2011, 19:47 GMT

    I remember Bridgetown 97, Tendulkar was out on a no ball in first innings when he was going good and was on some 90 odd. But that test was for taking and also 99-00 against pakistan in chennai.

  • Kumble vs Kartik on January 26, 2011, 17:08 GMT

    No one has mentioned another bowler playing at Sydney, the villain of the piece: Murali Kartik.

    In the first innings Kumble had figures 46.5/7/141/8, while Kartik had 19/1/122/0. I rest my case.

    M Kartik 19 1 122 0 6.42

  • Dipak Basu on January 26, 2011, 17:04 GMT

    How can you say Indians bowled defensively. I watched every ball of the closing over with the limpet-like Katich and Gillespie, with newly found batting ability, grimly held on. They were surrounded by fielders as Kumble bowled variation after variation. Every ball could have been a wicket. Even in the last over we could have won the game if Kumble broke through.

  • Debasis on January 24, 2011, 19:22 GMT

    Hey all stop be critical of the God of Cricket. when India were shot out at 81 chasing 120 in WI, wht were other batsmen doing. As if BCCI pays Sachin only and others play free of cost. Why did not Saurav force follow on at Sydney, why he was waiting for Dravid to score century in second innings at Sydney, declaration in 2nd inns came only when Dravid was hit on head by Lee's bouncer. If you analyze India's great wins in past few years, you will find Sachin has contribution to India's win either with bat or bowl- take Adelaide-04, perth-08, Multan-03, Kolkatta-01. Please do not disrespect the great man, we should be proud of him

  • Abhinav on January 20, 2011, 19:26 GMT

    guys..wat this fuss is all about...first..someone malik froom russia...brother...india are 2-1 up in series by th time m writing here..and u have got ur answers regarding our preparatioins..come 2011 WC and 2nd April..watch the result..then paste something here..and u talking about strong captain..it z about CAPTAIN who has always backed his players..Dhoni is going great..and he has that in him to deal with it..u stop giving those comments...ok

    and regarding this miss..actually we start expecting alot always..india dominated that series..totally and we shouldnt forget that AUS was also a great team that time..they played well..and as catches win u games..so parthiv's deeds led to india not getting thaat glory...it happens..and people talkng about SACHIN nt a match winner...CHENNAI TEST century against england..that historic chase on 5th day..was nt it..???and against aussies in india..first innings second test..it z sachin who has been the god in indian cricket..so better respect him

  • Jitesh chandan on January 20, 2011, 17:55 GMT

    what about the miss at the mohali test when only 3 wickets were required on a last day with also a first inning lead of about 150 odd runs in the hand and to register a series win against arch rival pakistan but opportunity lost.Abdul razzak and Kamran Akmal...............still have a pain..

  • Jitesh chandan on January 20, 2011, 17:47 GMT

    one more miss i would like to mention was the match which gave the aussies there much wanted and awaited series win in india after about 30 years when the last day was washed away by the rain ,some 220-230 odd runs were required and sehwag the great was playing so efficiently at the end of fourth day but rain ruined and match drawn.Aus 2-1 but i would also like to mention here that if there are misses then there many gains also for india which are misses for other teams and especially here in India .i would like to have that article also.congrats to team india for there winning streak presently.

  • krayG on January 20, 2011, 9:04 GMT

    @Bitter Truth I suppose Aussies wud nevr think they lost till they finally get whitewashed 5-0 in a test series by Bangladesh. Some wud still blame it to the unavailability of Warne and McGrath and Hayden and Gilly and so and so on till the country completes spelling all those who in the past wore the baggy green caps.

  • dipjyoti banik on January 20, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    i completely agree with bharat.people dont miss asecond's opportunity to put the blame on Tendulkar..They forget the innumerable number of times he won or saved India the game,they remember Laxman's 281,but tend to forget the three magic balls Tendulkar bowled to get Aussie's three most priced scalps,they say Tendulkar was slow with a SR of 55 whereas Laxman was bliztering at a SR of 59.They forget Mumbai test which India won against England chasing a record total,Bangalore test against the Aussie.Someone even called Tendulkar selfish,in this thread,said he was chasing Gavaskar's 236..and i wonder,what else does he has to achieve,for people to stop criticizing him.Anyways,i don't mean to disrespect any player,because I know each and every great player has played for their country and WHEN YOU ARE OUT THERE IN THE MIDDLE,THERE'S NOTHING ELSE IN YOUR HEAD,NO NOT EVEN YOUR PERFORMANCE,AND YOU JUST WANT TO GIVE 100% FOR THE TEAM YOU PLAYING.

  • Gourab D. on January 19, 2011, 20:02 GMT

    The article is not well thought, not well understood and lacks some facts. It is just an opinion which is not backed by facts. The real blunder in the test was the misses by Parthiv Patel. hat could have been one of the most major reasons for the miss. Hope the next time the entire match is scrutinized before readers are made to read quality things in the website.

  • Prashanth on January 19, 2011, 19:47 GMT

    I remember Bridgetown 97, Tendulkar was out on a no ball in first innings when he was going good and was on some 90 odd. But that test was for taking and also 99-00 against pakistan in chennai.

  • nivas kaumar on January 19, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    I dont think it was a miss. But We could have done better in the match provided Parthiv patel didnt drop any chances.

  • Danny scorp on January 18, 2011, 21:35 GMT

    This is a shocking article where the writer did not even mention about laxman's 179 in 298 balls where many of them will agree that Laxman dominated in the partnership beween sachin and Laxman. While Sachin restrained himself from playing offside it was VVS who completely stole the show and even the greats lauded Laxman for the kind of innings he played. Sachin played really well, he was out of form so he had to play dat sort of innings nothing wrong with dat. But the writer comparing this to Laxman's 96 is really awful, laxman made 96 when no other batsmen could even score 40 in a pitch which was most favorable for bowling, it is not only India dat bowled southafrica out, it was also sa who bowled India out. While it is fair to say Sachin played a great innings it is awful to compare with laxman's innings. Sachin is the no.1 batsman and will remain so but it does not mean we degrade a match winning 96 from Laxman.

  • Hemant Nayak,Naperville IL on January 18, 2011, 16:27 GMT

    Tests are getting exciting and conclusive as the NZ vs Pak is proving after India SAfr and the Ashes(One sided though it was..).

    I really wish India had gone for 340 on the last day which was not impossible.. Several great to very good teams would have gone for it believe me. It was'nt easy atall!! But I cant help thinking Viv Richards especially in his pomp would have taken it upon himself that is if Greenidge had'nt already!!

    (345/1 ,Greenidge not out 214 against Botham and Willis). Or Adam Gilchrist and Hayden taking them on... Or Pollock and Barry Richards maybe.. Or Dennis Compton and co..

    One team that would DEFINITELY have gone for it regardless of the conditions would be the INVINCIBLES..

    Here in CapeTown only possibility was if Sachin had volunteered to open and go for it. Sehwag would have had to open and try his luck and then VVS in at #3 in marvellous form, with Doni at #4..Even Bajji...

    If it was 2 or 3 down in an hour then close shutters With

  • JK on January 15, 2011, 21:18 GMT

    Akash - although I admired Sachin's exceptional discipline in making his 240 odd, he most likely cost India the game. I think he was in his own zone concentrating on making the most out of a batting wicket..had he been more adventurous, India would have had more time in the game. How else can you explain the fact that even Parthiv Patel was more fluent in making his 50 than Sachin? I am no sachin basher, but this will remain a fact in my mind...When the fear of failure strikes, even the mightiest wilt to suspicion..

  • suhaas on January 15, 2011, 16:40 GMT

    hello everybody just i want to tell everybody please stop teasing the player no player wit hav the mind of playing for the team and they have commen sense tat everyone wil be watching thddm and dont praise tendulkar wat he has dne for india he has nothng dome for india he has done for his name wat he has failed to give india a winner mood see his century around 50century he has done but during this centuryies india has failed to win 10 matches also tat means he is not a match winner but y u r praising him it is injustice for irfan pathn he has done so mush but nw all r teasing irfan pathan once he has compared with kapil dev remember its not too much time babk its in recent time he was praised heavily i still believe he is a star for india he has not given too many chances to prove selectors they play politics with players please everyone i request u 2 please please just check the player information and u will understand everythng abt the record and who is the real hero and praise the real hero.... .gnxw5ljehag40

  • KISH KUMAR on January 15, 2011, 13:39 GMT

    India always settle for a draw if it is there for the taking and if it meant that the series will be level. In South Africa in the durban test, they didn't have a choice. They had to win that match to keep the series alive. There was no second choice. It was either win or lose.

  • Anonymous on January 15, 2011, 7:05 GMT

    WHAT IS VERY VERY SPECIAL ABOUT LAXMAN ??. IT IS THE SMOOTHNESS WHICH IS VER VERY SPECIAL OF HIM. ALSO HIS SMOOTH TEMPERAMENT AND MANNERS

    LET US THEREFORE RENAME HIM AS ' VERY VERY SMOOTH' LAXMAN

    VVS SHOULD STAND FOR 'VERY,VERY, SMOOTH' LAXMAN n balasubramanian 15 1 2011 nbsx@hotmail.com

  • Akash on January 15, 2011, 0:50 GMT

    I'm waiting for you to write about Barbados 1997! Surely you'll write about that wretched game?

  • Vinay on January 14, 2011, 13:40 GMT

    I agree that this was a really great miss. A series win in Aus would have really been a fantastic result. However, I think the Jo'burg test of 96 is a more significant miss. It was the one chance that we had in the dark days of the 90s where our batting order more often than not remained only on paper and never came on the field, except for Sachin. The team under Dada was a much stronger team and one with more belief. While I am not sure what that sole win in Jo'burg would have done (after all we had already lost the series by then), it would have certainly been a very good result for the 90s and probably made Sachin a happier captain

  • Jakes on January 14, 2011, 7:57 GMT

    I have been deprived of seeing the GREAT WINDIES sides of yesteryear but i wonder what those fantastic fast bowlers would have done on even a flat track as this Sydney track certainly was! The best batsmen are the ones facing the most feared bowlers and similarly the best fast bowlers should be the ones deprived of good bowling conditions since they have to summon every bit of skill to avoid being thrashed and when they are given more favourable conditions they should make merry! Zaheer stood head and shoulders above the rest of the Indian attack! Pity he was not available for the first test recently in SA or in SYDNEY back then!

  • Gopal Sharma on January 14, 2011, 6:18 GMT

    Very well written. As a fan along with the moments of joy there'll always be these moments of frustration where one would feel a chance to create history was lost. It could sometimes be due to good performances throughout but one bad day destroying it (Bridgetown 97), due to the elements of nature (Hamilton 09), due to a great individual performance (Kallis at Capetown recently), horrible luck (Sydney 08) or a combination of these factors(Jo'burg 97). I cant comment on Oval 79 or MCG 85, I wasn't born while the Oval test was going on and was barely 1 or 2 for the other one. However, I did follow this test and will agree with most here that this can't be counted as a great miss. The Indian bowling line up was not a strong one at the time, but the bigger disappointment was the surface. The fact that India got 16 wickets on such a pitch is really commendable, although Kumble alone could only do so much. In fact this series showed the world that the Aussies though a great team are beatable

  • Voltaire on January 14, 2011, 2:10 GMT

    Sameer:

    Would a win in this test immortalized Sachin's performance as greatest ever....fat chance! As much I admire SRT, his 241 was merely a good innings not even very good....what's the great brouhaha about restraining oneself not to coverdrive in entire innings....smells of cowardice actually. How can you fail to mention VVS resplendent 170(30 4s)that was crucial for the surge to 700+....India drew because nohoper bowling attack....remove Kumble and Aussies would have scored 800. It was quite amusing to see Katich dancing down the track hitting boundaries casually....wondered who was under pressure on 5th day?! Without Mcgrath the win would have felt very hollow....Warne...forget being a threat is a consistent cannon fodder to Indian batsmen circa 92. And Mcgrath indeed was the lynchpin of the attack when they won in India the very same year! The real great miss that pathetic 85 MCG test!

  • GouthamPai on January 13, 2011, 22:43 GMT

    Ganguly was a great captain and had a good indian team at his disposal but Australians at that period were very storg in all departments of the game similar to the 2011 Ashes winning England side.... England are shortly going to overcome India in arace for Test no 1 rankings....

  • Bharat on January 13, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    f) When Dravid or any other batsman struggle with their SR…they are “gritty” and “gutsy”… but when an out-of-form SRT battles his way to 241* by dint of determination, he is “selfish”? Is it preferable that he just throw his bat around like Sehwag in SA and keep getting out for 20 or 30 at a SR of 100? g) And how about the recent B’lore test…SRT made 214 and 53* vs Australia…at a time when there was no Gambhir and no Laxman in the team, and Sehwag and Dravid failed…and the man still has to prove his match-winning credentials?

    As far as I’m concerned, SRT’s contribution to the success of Indian Test cricket is as great if not greater than VVS or Dravid or Kumble or Sehwag. And if you consider ODIs too, SRT’s contribution in winning matches is second to no man…not in India, nor in the world.

  • Harinder Jadwani on January 13, 2011, 18:34 GMT

    I was there in the flesh all 5 days.

    India had the Aussies on the mat for the entire match, but could not finish them off. Reason - slow batting by Tendulkar, who was more interested in passing Gavaskar's 236 than in winning the Test, coupled with Ganguly's unwillingness to declare until the morning of the 3rd day....

    This is what Australian fans at the SCG were saying - and they are not known for being generous to visitors, specially non-whites: a. There should have been human rights laws against making one team field so long - the Aussies fielded for 2 full days and an hours before Ganguly finally declared at 705 for 7...., and b. If India had one more top-class fast bowler, they would be # 1 in the world.

    India got all the top Aussie wickets in the last innings except Katich (Waugh could have been out for less than 5 if Irfan had not misjudged a catch)and the Aussies were able to escape with a draw... One more hour and India would have won. Aussies never had a chance of winning.

  • Bharat on January 13, 2011, 18:33 GMT

    f) When Dravid or any other batsman struggle with their SR…they are “gritty” and “gutsy”… but when an out-of-form SRT battles his way to 241* by dint of determination, he is “selfish”? Is it preferable that he just throw his bat around like Sehwag in SA and keep getting out for 20 or 30 at a SR of 100? g) And how about the recent B’lore test…SRT made 214 and 53* vs Australia…at a time when there was no Gambhir and no Laxman in the team, and Sehwag and Dravid failed…and the man still has to prove his match-winning credentials?

    As far as I’m concerned, SRT’s contribution to the success of Indian Test cricket is as great if not greater than VVS or Dravid or Kumble or Sehwag. And if you consider ODIs too, SRT’s contribution in winning matches is second to no man…not in India, nor in the world.

  • cool engineer on January 13, 2011, 18:26 GMT

    Oh common !......India should have enforced the follow on ...Aus could never stay at wicket for 2& half days in their second inn under the pressure of over 200 lead..............At best even if Aus had scored 400 in second inn (as they scored 350 for 6) that would have given India a target of 180 to be scored in 2 sessions , which India could have easily chased in 2 sessions.............There was nothing to worry about the last day batting coz only subcontinent pitches deteriorate on last day

  • Bharat on January 13, 2011, 18:17 GMT

    He he! It never fails to amuse me how some people use every cricket discussion to diss SRT! And of course, they state opinions as if they were unquestionable facts.

    Well, answer me this: a) VVS made 281 in one of the all-time great innings...but would India have taken 10 wkts in less than a day without SRT's 3 wkts on day 5, including the HUGE scalps of Hayden and Gilchrist? b) VVS helped pull off a near-miracle win at Mohali...but would India even come close without SRT's 98 and 38 in that Test? c) VVS made a brilliant 104* in SL in the 4th innings...but would India win...from 55/4... without SRT's 54 and his 100-run partnership with VVS? d) India dominated that Sydney test of 2004...becoz they had a lead of 231...well, who contributed 241 to that lead? e) 241* at a SR of 55 is "slow" but VVS' 178 in the same innings at a SR of 59 is not? And is going from 150 to 241...91 runs...in 108 balls slow??

  • Loganathan on January 13, 2011, 17:46 GMT

    Shankar is spot on. That match was not won because of Parthiv Patel. He also dropped a catch of Gillespie if i am not msitaken and Gillespie stayed on and put a long partnership.

  • Lionsden on January 13, 2011, 17:44 GMT

    There are two significant factors that you have conveniently missed a) Parthiv Patel dropping catches after catches (probably keeping with Iron gloves) b)Sachin's double hundred. I vividly remember sachin was batting on 73 & Laxman on 29 at end of day 1. Laxman scored 178 got out, while Tendulkar had crawled to 130 odd...

  • Adam on January 13, 2011, 15:41 GMT

    Considering our press tipped a 4-0 loss for the indians, they played well above their capacity, and to an extent, the australians played below. As the world is seeing, this team had no warne and McGrath, so it was something australia should of addressed then.

    I can remember Ganguly saying something along the lines of "We have already exceeded your expectations by drawing at brisbane when you all said 4-0, so i am happy" after the first test. Just goes to show you what a 1-1 result did for india - A better bowling attack would of won them the series, they only took 10 wickets in the first innings because australia always (and sadly still, without the talent to backup) bat very aggresively

    But really, thank you team india for persisting with Parthiv Patel, his spilled catches 9 months later really helped with the 2-1 series win for australia in 2004 :)

    I see India as a very good side, not great though, and when Very Very Special Laxman retires, Indias boat will have sailed away

  • Abhijit on January 13, 2011, 15:12 GMT

    The problem with playing in Australia is that Indians must play 13 players, not eleven. And 13, as well as know, is an unlucky number. That explains our missed opportunities to knock 'em off. Seriously, I am not being tongue in cheek. Moreover, back in the days the team used to be too heavily dependent on Sachin. Thank God that is not the case now.

  • nair ottappalam on January 13, 2011, 14:14 GMT

    There was the ever green Steve Waugh who in his last test innings stood between India and victory. And it was a great tribute to one of the finest cricketers leaving the field that his catch was taken by none other than Sachin Tendulkar

  • Rtn on January 13, 2011, 11:45 GMT

    @Yogesh: scorecards do not tell the complete story. The Aussies were completely deflated after tea on the second day. They were reduced to using the rather scary bowling of Martyn and Katich, with plenty of singles on offer. To which Sachin responded by "rotating the strike", a feat even Chris Martin would have managed. Waugh came in for criticism by the commentators because he was not even changing fields, that is, Parthiv Patel had the same fields and responded with 11 fours (compared to Sachin's 2 fours). Some initiative there from the greatest batsman on earth and India could have declared with an hour left on the second day. Justin Langer said after the match how tired he was even after a night's rest when he came out to bat on the third day (and scored a century). Imagine how the match would have changed if that night's rest had not allowed Langer to score a century and Hayden a half-century. No, a scorecard won't tell you that.

  • vaibhav more on January 13, 2011, 10:26 GMT

    I remember Parthiv Patel missing atleast 3 to 4 chances. He is the most to be blamed for this miss. I think that is why they dumped him later on. One thing most dont know is that he has a few fingers missing in one of his hands. This was shown during one of the tea time shows during the 2004 series. He can never be a good weeketkeeper and also looses his grip while batting.

  • Jakes on January 13, 2011, 6:05 GMT

    It is fair to say India could have won had the test if Sachin had been more aggressive and he said in an interview with Ali bacher in SA recently that he had been struggling with his drives outside off-stump, however that should be left for the coach to work out and when in battle you give all-Kallis has failed in this respect as well-always playing for himself although for the first time i admit that the fourth day batting was a great innings as it not only saved the test but ensured that India was not to leave these shores as series winners for the very first time in history! these guys are hailed as GREATS as a result of their stats but that does not tell the real story! Malinga and Matthews winning a one-dayer in Australia when all seems lost-now that's....

  • prasanna on January 13, 2011, 4:59 GMT

    Do u really think India had the bowlers to take 20 wickets?? we had Agarkar( who relied more on luck rather than skills!!), Pathan (a rookie, lucky to get 3 wickets in the match), Murali Karthik(over-rated and shown his place in this match)and finally KUMBLE who took 14 wickets. Our only win of thw series came due to a freak spell by Agarkar and 2 wickets by Tendulkar(courtsey 2 magnificent catches by Dravid)in 2nd innings at Adelaide. Sorry I wont even say that our bowlers let us down since they simply never had the ability!!!unlike in Capetown where our Bowlers had the ability but let SA off the hook at 130 for 6. But please dont berate Sachin or our batters . THEY WERE AWESOME IN THIS SERIES OF 2003-4!!!

  • Yogesh on January 13, 2011, 4:34 GMT

    Coming to the article's content, i would rate MCG a greater miss than SCG considering the pitch and our bowling. The painful misses to me since i began watching in 1992 were Barbados 1997, MCG 2003, Cape Town 2006, Sydney 2008, Cape Town 2011. Long after their careers are over and when they look back on a job well done, i am sure these five matches will rankle them. Three of them would have definitely given them those elusive away series victories missing on their CVs. In fact, though the so-called Golden era has lead to some memorable test victories, there are only two away series victories of note : Windies 2006 and England 2007. To be frank, though they were notable wins, one opposition was poor and the other was average.

  • Yogesh on January 13, 2011, 4:25 GMT

    There seems to be too many false statements about Sachin's SCG knock. 55.27 is a good enough strike rate for test cricket. Sachin-Parthiv partnership was 101 of 83 deliveries. Parthiv scored 62 of 50. Even counting for extras, Sachin scored at least run a ball. Someone speaks of Sachin crawling. Nothing is farther from the truth. Sachin went from 150 to 241 in 92 balls and his last 41 runs came in 41 balls, both of which are almost run a ball. This isn't crawling even in ODIs. It was the same with 194. People think the only way someone can score fast is by slogging. As Sachin cleverly showed it in IPL, by a nudge here and a push there also one can score quickly. The second halves of the two knocks were precisely in such a mode. And as Hayden remarked at SCG, Sachin played Dravid's role of anchor

  • Looch on January 13, 2011, 1:00 GMT

    It was Ganguly's unimaginitive and over rated captaincy that denied India this test match and the series. With the team he had India should of been Test no.1, simple as that.

  • Rtn on January 13, 2011, 0:33 GMT

    Well, for me the game was destined for a draw when India dawdled on for two and a half days to post 700 runs. It was so plainly obvious that all Sachin wanted to do was remain not out. Even after India had scored 550, Sachin did not attempt to push the scoring rate. Even Parthiv Patel got a quickfire 50 and outpaced Sachin's strike rate. It pains me to hear people call it a great innings, how he did not hit a single cover drive. You know, that was great to get himself into form, get a century or even a double, but I remember being bewildered at how he just kept crawling for those 41 runs even after getting to the double. No wonder in a later Test match Dravid declared the innings when Sachin was on 194. If only one of Laxman or Parthiv had run out Sachin in Sydney 2004 (as Botham had done to Boycott), India would not be considered today as the top Test team by default, with no series victories in Australia or South Africa. Sorry for the rant, but yes, SCG 2004 hurts real bad.

  • Anonymous on January 12, 2011, 22:10 GMT

    Oh common !......India should have enforced the follow on ...Aus could never stay at wicket for 2& half days in its second inn under the pressure of over 200 lead..............Even if Aus had scored 400 in second inn (as they scored 350 for 6) that would have given India a target of 180 which they could have easily chased in 2 sessions.............There was nothing to worry about the last day batting coz only subcontinent pitches deteriorate on last day

  • Santanu Chakraborty on January 12, 2011, 21:00 GMT

    There are many such near misses for India in the past. There were several reasons for that. But most importantly, the umpires and rain came on India's way quite a few times. One reason why India has started winning abroad in 2000s is because of the neutral country umpires. Some of India's near misses are: the Sydney test in 1985-86 (Rain) , the Sydney test in 1991-92 (Rain and Azhar's stupid captaincy - did not give a bowl to Subrata Banerjee who had got three wickets in the first innings), the Johannesberg test in 1996-97 (Rain) etc. There had been less such misses in 2000s. Still one can not forget the India-New Zealand third test in New Zealand in the 2008-09 series. Once again rain came on India's way. All teams were sufferers because of the umpires but India was the most unfortunate because India's captains were less innovative compared to other countries. It is good to see that India had quite a few good captains in the recent past - Ganguly, Dravid, Kumble and Dhoni.

  • Hemant Nayak,Naperville IL on January 12, 2011, 20:47 GMT

    SCG 2004 was a featherbed a DEAD track!! Sachin's two fers as per your mataphor did'nt mean much ,but if he'd made a good contribution in Melbourne (278/1) , it would have helped tremendously. His 241 out of a 705/7 was'nt pivotal in any way and actually he took 640 mins, over it.Honestly value wise not much. Parthiv Patel muffed easy stumpings and they got away. Dada had no faith and had 2 slips for Pathan(debut series) with new ball!! Yeah but Sachin has NOT been a match winner for INDIA AT ALL in TESTS!! 2 excellent opportunities other than failed Pak innings of 136, was against Pak in Bangalore when he should have volunteered to open and win the test like Greenidge did in Eng 1984(214*) as well as NZ in 2002 a good score in 2nd inn would have helped India win!!In addition he's failed many many times when India want to draw(never pivotal) eg Kingston 2002( half hour..) and Sydney (couple of overs as it happened).On the other hand VVS and Dravid have made INDIA win and save many!!

  • Malik on January 12, 2011, 19:30 GMT

    heheheh thats the preparation of WORLDCUP 2011 :d:d GREAT NEWS TODAY S-AFRICA BEAT INDIA I M VERY VERY HAPPY:)

    I THINK DHONI SHOULD RESIGN FROM THE TEAM INDIA NEW CAPTAIN WILL BE VIRAT KOHLI :) JST HE IS A PLAYER TO SUPPORT TEAM INDIA THERE IS NO PLACE OF DHONI,NEHRA,ROHIT, IN WC SQUAD

    NOW ITS TIME TO GIVE CAPTAINCY IN STRONG HANDS:) DHONI SHOULD RESIGN ... GUDLUCK TEAD INDIA MALIK KALEEM FROM (RUSSIA)

  • Alok on January 12, 2011, 18:25 GMT

    Like everyone else who has commented, I don't think this was a great miss.

    Maybe if Parthiv Patel had held a catch here and made THAT stumping there, it would have been much closer, but batting wise, Australia was still a great unit, and bowling-wise, India not so much.

    I remember this match quite clearly and checking the score every few overs on the mobile for a fall of a wicket. Remember the frustration at Waugh not getting out, but in hindsight, a great cricketer was playing (yet another) great innings, showing enormous resolve and patience so characteristic of him.

  • Vinit Singh Sharma on January 12, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    I think the pertinent point here is as you mention; India was very very happy with a drawn 1-1 series scoreline. Despite being in such a commanding position scoring over 700 in the first innings there was never any urgency, they never appeared to be pressing for victory, merely the avoidance of the possibility of defeat. Tendulkar's innings was one merely of self interest- never in cricket's history have I ever seen a double century so uncommanding. He was playing simply for his own form/record, as opposed to VVS Laxman who (as always) looked to dominate & take the game away from the opposition, and put India in a winning position.

    I don't think anyone can have any gripe with the 2nd innings declaration; I mean why should a team that's taken a 231 run lead after scoring 705 in the first innings give the opposition ANY "sporting" chance to win the game?

  • thewonderkid on January 12, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    Nicely written .But still i do not think this would count as a miss. The wicket was really flat, anyone could have made runs in that. Unlike what we saw happened with Laxman at durban or dravid at jamaica. so there a reason tendulkar's innings are not part of a batting folklore.

  • srinivas on January 12, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    This really was a big miss. India failed to wina series that they dominated.Inspite of Ganguly's proclaimed aggressiveness , it was fairly defensive feild setting through out the game and boy , did that chap named Parthiv drop some catches. i would definitely blame Ganguly's captaincy and Parthiv's pathetic keeping for this.

  • love goel on January 12, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    I don't think this was as big a miss as the ones you talked about earlier. Here India did not failed itself; it failed to win on cricketing terms. It could not get australians out. The Indian attack was never that great.

    I always think that the match before this one in Adelaide was the bigger miss. With Sehwag 195 we should have batted australia out with at least 500 in first innings. The chance of winning the series was squandered than and there

    It was Waugh’s last act of mental disintegration... When you can write such good articles, then please don't use such lines to provide an exciting endline. There was no mental disintegration. If that was to happen, it would have happened in Brisbane in first match. Or when india was 86-4 chasing australia 550+ in Adelaide. Or when India gave away a lead of 191 in MCG. Not in Sydney

    Though to be fair to the Indian team, in MCG, India collapsed against the second new ball.

  • Bitter Truth on January 12, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Near miss?? Guys, thank God your team did not lose. Great miss for S Waugh to finish it off in style.

  • Vijay Kumar on January 12, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    Good article. Small correction: It was Bridgetown 1997, not Kingston 1997. (India chasing 121 against the West Indies were all out for 81.)This in my opinion, is India's most horrible failure.

  • bucknor on January 12, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    if i remember correctly, steve bucknor made some howlers too..really robbed india of a win, and sure as hell parthiv patel played his part by missin catches n all.

  • PRC on January 12, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Shankar is spot on. Apart from the missed stumpings, there were a couple of leg before decisions India should have had their way. I clearly remember Agarkar had Langer plumb in front pretty early, but Bucknor didn't give the deciion. In spite of all this, India had a fairly good chance when Ponting was dismissed(by Pathan, was it?). But Waugh and Katich had a fantastic partnership which denied India. Cannot blame Ganguly for delaying the declaration, as the Aussies had the batting to chase almost any total at almost any rate.

  • Jaideep on January 12, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    I don't think this test can qualify as a miss. The wicket was flat and batsmen held sway for major portion of the match. Melbourne 1985 as detailed earlier was the biggest miss in Australia.

  • Shankar on January 12, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    I am surprised there is not a single mention of Parthiv Patel's misses in the match. I think there were 2 to 3 misses on the last day. Stumping opportunity missed off Ponting first ball after lunch on day 5 was crucial. Ponting went on to occupy the crease until 30 minutes to tea.

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  • Shankar on January 12, 2011, 8:37 GMT

    I am surprised there is not a single mention of Parthiv Patel's misses in the match. I think there were 2 to 3 misses on the last day. Stumping opportunity missed off Ponting first ball after lunch on day 5 was crucial. Ponting went on to occupy the crease until 30 minutes to tea.

  • Jaideep on January 12, 2011, 9:18 GMT

    I don't think this test can qualify as a miss. The wicket was flat and batsmen held sway for major portion of the match. Melbourne 1985 as detailed earlier was the biggest miss in Australia.

  • PRC on January 12, 2011, 12:09 GMT

    Shankar is spot on. Apart from the missed stumpings, there were a couple of leg before decisions India should have had their way. I clearly remember Agarkar had Langer plumb in front pretty early, but Bucknor didn't give the deciion. In spite of all this, India had a fairly good chance when Ponting was dismissed(by Pathan, was it?). But Waugh and Katich had a fantastic partnership which denied India. Cannot blame Ganguly for delaying the declaration, as the Aussies had the batting to chase almost any total at almost any rate.

  • bucknor on January 12, 2011, 12:11 GMT

    if i remember correctly, steve bucknor made some howlers too..really robbed india of a win, and sure as hell parthiv patel played his part by missin catches n all.

  • Vijay Kumar on January 12, 2011, 12:13 GMT

    Good article. Small correction: It was Bridgetown 1997, not Kingston 1997. (India chasing 121 against the West Indies were all out for 81.)This in my opinion, is India's most horrible failure.

  • Bitter Truth on January 12, 2011, 12:20 GMT

    Near miss?? Guys, thank God your team did not lose. Great miss for S Waugh to finish it off in style.

  • love goel on January 12, 2011, 13:00 GMT

    I don't think this was as big a miss as the ones you talked about earlier. Here India did not failed itself; it failed to win on cricketing terms. It could not get australians out. The Indian attack was never that great.

    I always think that the match before this one in Adelaide was the bigger miss. With Sehwag 195 we should have batted australia out with at least 500 in first innings. The chance of winning the series was squandered than and there

    It was Waugh’s last act of mental disintegration... When you can write such good articles, then please don't use such lines to provide an exciting endline. There was no mental disintegration. If that was to happen, it would have happened in Brisbane in first match. Or when india was 86-4 chasing australia 550+ in Adelaide. Or when India gave away a lead of 191 in MCG. Not in Sydney

    Though to be fair to the Indian team, in MCG, India collapsed against the second new ball.

  • srinivas on January 12, 2011, 15:35 GMT

    This really was a big miss. India failed to wina series that they dominated.Inspite of Ganguly's proclaimed aggressiveness , it was fairly defensive feild setting through out the game and boy , did that chap named Parthiv drop some catches. i would definitely blame Ganguly's captaincy and Parthiv's pathetic keeping for this.

  • thewonderkid on January 12, 2011, 16:30 GMT

    Nicely written .But still i do not think this would count as a miss. The wicket was really flat, anyone could have made runs in that. Unlike what we saw happened with Laxman at durban or dravid at jamaica. so there a reason tendulkar's innings are not part of a batting folklore.

  • Vinit Singh Sharma on January 12, 2011, 17:33 GMT

    I think the pertinent point here is as you mention; India was very very happy with a drawn 1-1 series scoreline. Despite being in such a commanding position scoring over 700 in the first innings there was never any urgency, they never appeared to be pressing for victory, merely the avoidance of the possibility of defeat. Tendulkar's innings was one merely of self interest- never in cricket's history have I ever seen a double century so uncommanding. He was playing simply for his own form/record, as opposed to VVS Laxman who (as always) looked to dominate & take the game away from the opposition, and put India in a winning position.

    I don't think anyone can have any gripe with the 2nd innings declaration; I mean why should a team that's taken a 231 run lead after scoring 705 in the first innings give the opposition ANY "sporting" chance to win the game?