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India’s Test wins in Australia— Part 2 1980-81

India’s went to Australia in 1980-81 for 3 test series and a tri-nation ODI series. Australia this time had a strong team of stars comprising of captain Greg Chappell, Rod Marsh, Dennis Lillee, Len Pascoe,Doug Walters ,Kim Hughes and a young Allan Border. The 1st test at Sydney was won easily by Australia by 1 innings and 4 runs riding on a dazzling 204 by Greg Chappell  who batted with a bout of food poisoning and brilliant fast bowling by Dennis Lillee and other fast bowlers. Australia also threatened to win the 2nd test at Adelaide which would have  won them the series. A brilliant 213 by Kim Hughes put Australia ahead but India fought back through superb attacking batting by Sandeep Patil who scored 174 playing scintillating strokes against Lillee and Co. Chetan Chauhan batted with courage for 97. Australia finally set India a target of 331 on last day and India saved the 2nd test narrowly ending at 135/8 with Vengsarkar(37) playing long enough to keep Aussies at bay.

3rd Test at Melbourne ,( Feb 7-11 1981): India won by 59 runs.

On a grassy pitch ,Greg Chappell won the toss and fielded. India struggled right through their 1st innings and were bowled out for 237 with Viswanath playing a lone hand scoring a fighting 114 with full of some elegant strokes. Lillee 4/65 and Pascoe 3/29  were the chief destroyers as they had been right through the series.

Australia after some initial hiccups settled down well through a solid partnership between Greg Chappell and Allan Border. Chappell played elegantly for 76 while Border played impressive shots scoring 124 before being bowled by Shivlal Yadav who was bowling with a broken toe after being hit by Len Pascoe’s Yorker. Doug Walters played fluently for 78 to get Australia to 419—- a 1st innings lead of 182 runs.

In 2nd innings ,Gavaskar finally found his form for the 1st rime in test series and battled hard with Chauhan  in a 1st wicket stand of vital 165 runs before a wrong umpiring decision of lbw victimised Gavaskar (70)  ,who overheard some abuse by Lillee and almost forfeited the match by trying to walk out from the field with Chauhan. However Manager Durrani saved the day by sending back Chauhan and pacified Gavaskar. The whole issue affected Chauhan’s concentration and soon he was dismissed by Lillee for 84. Later some 30s and 40s just about managed to take India to 324 with the pitch showing signs of unpredictability.  Australia now needs 143 to win the match and series 2-0 with odds heavily stacked against India due to  Yadav out of action and a thigh injury to Indian  spearhead  Kapil Dev.

However Karsan Ghavri,the left arm fast bowler had other ideas. Opening the bowling with Doshi (with Kapil injured) Ghavi  dismissed opener Dyson and knocked over leg stump of  in-form  Greg Chappell 1st ball for a golden duck ,when Chappell shuffled too far !!!!. Wood was stumped off  Doshi and  Australia were 24/3 at the end of 4th day but still highly favoured to win chasing a small target and  with Kapil apparently out of action.

Came the last day and Kapil Dev came out to bowl inspite of acute pain with thigh injury but taking pain killing injections. With the pitch already behaving poorly Doshi began the slide by bowling Hughes . Then Kapil bowled nightwatchman Bruce Yardley off a ball which didn’t bounce. Border was hanging around for 1 hour till Kapil had him given out caught down legside , Border was unhappy but India has got a huge wicket. Soon Marsh and Lillee were bowled by Kapil as Walters tried hard to keep one end up but without support and finally when Jim Higgs was trapped lbw by Kapil ,India earned  one of the most sensational wins over a starstudded Australia on a  deteroiting MCG pitch by 59 runs . Australia bowled out for 83 !!! Kapil taking 5/21 in one of the most inspired bowling spells in test history fighting a thigh muscle injury and India after this famous win levelled the series at  1-1 draw. Gundappa Viswanath was the man of the match for his 1st innings 100. India never lost a test whenever Vishy scored a 100.

Brief Scores:

India  237 and 324 ;  Australia 419 and 83

India went very close to winning 2 tests in the 1985-86 tour, when Australia led by the gallant Allan Border were a weaker side and was going through a transition phase . But at MCG India under Kapil Dev were denied  partly by rain and mainly by a magnificient 2nd innings of 163 by Aussie captain Allan Border who  singlehandedly rescued Australia from embarrassment. Again at SCG a seemingly draw match suddenly came to life when Australia lost few 2nd innings wickets in a heap late in the match ,but India after going so near ,could not force a win.

India remained winless in tours of 1991-92 and 1999-2000 and were actually thrashed, and so the wait for next test win on Australian soil became longer.

 

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Amitava Mukherjee

A commerce graduate with work experience in Banking sector. An avid sports enthusiast. Big fan of soccer cricket and tennis

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Sampathkumar

Yes, i remember the match. Sandeep hit by a bouncer from Lennie Pascoe came in wiyh a helmet and pludered both Lillee and Pascoe at will and scored 174.
Regarding Sunny and Lillee incident its green in my memory. Sunny was so annoyed and still I feel Lille is the worst mannered cricketer. Thats why I rate Andy Roberts as my hero and not bloody this fellow.
And that umpire too was a bit carried away by Lillee i felt. DENNIS LILLEE MIGHT HAVE BEEN A GREAT BOWLER BUT HE IS THE MOST INDISCIPLINED MANNERSLESS FELLOW.

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