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December 16, 2003
As India notched up the winning runs, Nagraj Gollapudi spoke to a few former Indian players who have been part of Indian teams winning abroad - either in Tests or significant one-day international tournaments.
Rahul Dravid: 'responsible, calculated and built on minimal risks'
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My best memory of this match would be Rahul Dravid's innings - responsible, calculated and built on minimal risks. He was the pivot. The aim of getting close to the Australian total was the first priority and he was the best man to accomplish that task. This was a convincing victory against the best side [in the world] and should boost the future part of our tour. It's a well-balanced setup, which is clicking as a unit, and the best Indian side ever.
The win takes me back to 1971 against England at the Oval, where the sequence of events was almost similar to those in Adelaide. As that victory was a morale booster for us, the same will apply to Sourav Ganguly's side. But his team should guard against complacency - there will be mad media hype and players shouldn't get carried away in this euphoria.
We achieved victory in 1981 [against Australia, at Melbourne] on an uneven wicket, whereas this Adelaide Oval pitch has been firm. The teams that toured Australia then and now are completely different: we had strong allround talent then, while batting is the strong point of the present Indian team. Our batsman successfully chased the massive Aussie first-innings total and piled enough runs for our bowlers to have a go at the Aussies. And that worked. I thought it would end as a draw, but Ajit Agarkar's spell turned things our way.
Hard work has been the chief characteristic of this New India. It's a great day in Indian cricket, and we should be proud. When they had taken five wickets in their second innings, my hopes soared, and I was confident that we could do it. Rahul [Dravid] and [VVS] Laxman batted superbly and showed the art of maintaining calm in the testing conditions. They have just displayed the maturity of the side, which has been consistently performing.
It's a tremendous achievement, and a morale booster for Indian cricket. This win has shed the inferiority complex that existed against the Australians. All the talk about Australia being the best, and the world beaters etc, will not bother us anymore. One bright point I have noticed in this team is the bowlers - the medium pacers especially. They did their homework properly and implemented successfully their dressing-room strategies by playing on the weakness of the opposition.
I can't believe it. It was an extraordinary performance. Who could believe that a team, chasing 556 in the first innings, that had collapsed to 85 for 4, would rebuild valiantly under pressure to achieve one of the tightest victories in Test cricket ever. From the Indians' point of view this victory is better than the 2001 Kolkata triumph, considering that this was an away win - and in Australia. One of the chief strong points of this side is the solid middle order, which has the likes of Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, whose partnerships over the years have become a major worry for the opposition.
Navjot Singh Sidhu
Occasions will not make men strong or weak, they will show what mettle they are made of. This win has enhanced a tarnished Indian image. Indian cricket has received a huge shot in the arm. Only if they go on to win the series will this be considered India's best-ever Test win.
Nagraj Gollapudi is sub editor of Wisden Asia Cricket.
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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