The top spot was a no-contest. VVS Laxman's coruscating, series-turning, once-in-a-lifetime 281 against Australia at Eden Gardens in 2001 emerged the overwhelming winner in the Greatest Indian Test Innings survey conducted by Wisden Asia Cricket magazine on the occasion of its third anniversary.
Laxman's 281, that turned a hopeless situation for India to a match-winning one, garnered 268 points, more than Rahul Dravid's 233 against Australia at Adelaide in 2003 which was ranked second. However, Sunil Gavaskar emerged the most valuable batsman. Though his highest ranked innings - a stirring 96 against Pakistan on a crumbling pitch at Bangalore in 1987 - came at number six, Gavaskar had two other innings in the top ten, underscoring his worth to Indian cricket in a period when the team's batting revolved around him.
Rahul Dravid, whose stellar performances have underpinned India's recent success, came out shining too with all four of his nominated innings being ranked in the top 25. Sachin Tendulkar - whose unbeaten, match-winning 155 against Australia at Chennai in 1998 occupied the number nine position - won five nominations in all, and three of them in the top 25.
A total of 63 innings were nominated by the 35-strong jury comprising former players, broadcasters, sportswriters and analysts. They were asked to nominate their own top ten, and each selection was assigned a point value in descending order - 10 for the top-ranked innings, nine for the next, and so on all the way down to one for the tenth-ranked innings.
Gundappa Viswanath, rated by many of his contemporaries, including Gavaskar, as the best Indian batsman of his generation, won five nominations. His gutsy 97, a bulk of which came in the company of tailenders, against West Indies at Madras in 1975, was ranked third. One place lower was Virender Sehwag's thrill-a-minute 309, the highest individual score by an Indian batsman. Performances from the early era were not ignored either, with Vijay Hazare's 145 against Don Bradman's Australians at Adelaide in 1948 being rated fifth and Vinoo Mankad's towering 184 against England at Lord's in 1952 at number seven.
The 40-page cover story feature in the December issue of Wisden Asia Cricket features eyewitness accounts of the top 25 innings as voted by our jury. Those contributing their memories of these performances include: Justin Langer, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Bishan Bedi, Glenn McGrath, Madhav Apte, Rajan Bala, Angus Fraser, Scyld Berry, Ramachandra Guha, Tony Cozier, Saqlain Mushtaq, Ajit Wadekar, Mike Whitney and many others.
The top 25
Khalid Ansari sportswriter, Madhav Apte former Test player, Abbas Ali Baig former Test player, Rajan Bala sportswriter, Bishan Bedi former Test player, Harsha Bhogle sportswriter and broadcaster, Chandu Borde former Test player, BS Chandrasekhar former Test player, Chetan Chauhan former Test player, Nari Contractor former Test player, Raj Singh Dungarpur former cricketer and administrator, Gulu Ezekiel sportswriter, Anshuman Gaekwad former Test player, Karsan Ghavri former Test player, Ramachandra Guha historian and cricket writer, Mukul Kesavan novelist and cricket writer, Boria Majumdar cricket historian and writer, Sanjay Manjrekar former Test player and broadcaster, Madhav Mantri former Test player, R Mohan sportswriter, Ayaz Memon sportswriter, Suresh Menon sportswriter, Clayton Murzello sportswriter, Bapu Nadkarni former Test player, H Natarajan sportswriter, Vasu Paranjpe former cricketer and coach, Mudar Patherya Sportswriter, Sandeep Patil former Test player, K N Prabhu sportswriter, Vasant Raiji cricket historian and writer, G Rajaraman sportswriter, V Ramnarayan former cricketer and writer, Suresh Saraiya broadcaster, Sharda Ugra sportswriter, Ajit Wadekar former Test player.