India managed to wrest a commendable draw from Australia in the 4th and final test match at Adelaide on Monday, January 28, 2008 after successfully toppling Australian winning-chariot in the last test. Of course, in the final analysis Australia won by 2 to 1, a series which would long be remembered for Continuing with an exceptional display of cricketing skills, Team India piled up a huge score for Australia to chase which was matched by an equally gritty chase effort by the champion side, ending up with more of a virtual instead of a real lead. Already into the fourth day by now, India made sure that Australia do not get to bat again in the test with one of the finest centuries from the unyielding willow of Virender Sehwag effectively blocking out any outside chances of an Aussie victory.
1st Day: Winning the toss, India had a slightly dodgy beginning with the bat as Johnson picked up the crucial wickets of Pathan and Dravid too early in the day. Sehwag, on the other end, continued with a comparatively restrained innings by his standards. But the complexion of the game changed as soon as Tendulkar stepped on the field wielding his mighty willow against a tough side. With a determined approach, Tendulkar and Sehwag started building up a crucial innings of a partnership which seemed to bring their dormant batting aggression to the fore in the form of a few classic cuts, drives and boundaries. A brief spell as it was perhaps meant to be, the partnership came to an abrupt end as Lee claimed the scalp of Sehwag with a superb piece of bowling. Ganguly came in at a crucial juncture of the innings but failed to judge the mysterious line of Hogg and was struck plumb in front of the wicket after struggling to get a foothold against the Aussie torrent. India looked in deep trouble now with the scorecard reading 156 runs for 4 wickets. The hopes of resurrecting the innings were, however, rekindled with the arrival of VVS Laxman who made it a point to stay on the crease and make the most of any loose balls. Soon this blossomed into a century partnership stand as Tendulkar set yet another milestone with his 39th test century pitched with quite a few strokes of his batting genius. By now, VVS Laxman was also basking in the glory of his brilliant half century effort. Like all good things, this partnership also came to an end soon after with Laxman falling prey to the pace of Lee as India was in for yet another lean patch of the innings. India ended the day at the cricket score of 309 runs for 5 wickets.
2nd Day: Beginning the day on a grim note, Dhoni soon succumbed to the swing of Johnson after struggling to hold his own against Aussie pace and swing. With skipper on the crease, all sights were set on Tendulkar for hope, which flickered for a few moments, before going out at the personal score of 153 for the little Maestro and India seemed to have fell short of its goal. The cricketing gods, however, thought the time was ripe for the rise of a few unlikely heroes. Anil Kumble and Harbhajan started their partnership with an unhurried elegance marked with occasional belligerence, which showed up in their shots and contributed to the Indian lead with a record 106 run-stand for the 8th wicket. Defying their tailender status, the duo stood firm in the face of deadly pace and swing and successfully frustrated Aussie plans to bundle out India as early as might be possible. After introducing quite a few changes, Symonds proved lucky for Australia by claiming the now prized wicket of turbanator. RP singh followed suit soon after with nothing to his credit and paved the way for Ishant Sharma who chose to make the most of his stay by giving Kumble as much strike as possible and seeing off the ones he faced. The result was magnificent in the form of a historic 58-run 10th wicket stand which prolonged Indian lead to 526 before Johnson came up with his best to stop the surge of Kumble towards his 2nd test ton under dramatic circumstances. Aussies chose to hop in quickly and started off with their 1st innings chase of 526 runs, which was a history of another, kind in the making. Prodding cautiously, Australia closed the day at the cricket score of 62 runs for 0 wickets.
3rd Day: Carrying on from where they had left off, Australia steadily progressed their innings to reach 158 runs for 0 wickets lost by lunch and India had sensed the danger but maybe it was too late already, by the time Kumble provided the initial break in the form of Jacques at the total of 159 runs. Aussies seemed to be growing ever stronger with every loss and even as Hayden chose to blunt his blade by scoring quite a few stern boundaries and scored a fabulous century before falling to Ishant, Ponting seemed to blossom in the sunshine of runs all the while. India mustered yet another break in the form of Hussey but Kangaroo stride seemed almost unstoppable and Clarke provided that much needed boost to the Aussie innings to take his side past 300 without much of a trouble. Australia ended the day with a magnificent cricket score of 322 runs for 3 wickets.
4th Day: The Aussies began the day with a trademark nonchalance which soon transformed into a brutal cricketing massacre of sorts as Ponting and Clarke ripped apart the bowling with cuts, drives and boundaries being crafted at will. Launching into an all-out batting attack, the super-duo developed a double ton partnership before Ponting fell prey to a subtlety from Sehwag at the personal score of 140. Clarke also raced to an ecstatic century before falling a victim to Ishant. Symonds, Gilchrist and Hogg proved to be of little consequence with meagre contributions to their credit and Australia was bundled out at 563 runs to gain a thin lead of 37 runs. India started off with their 2nd innings late in the day, losing Pathan at nought to end up with a score of 45 runs for 1 wicket.
5th Day: As the day began, unlikely developments started taking place all around. To begin with, a dangerously fast one bowled by Lee caused a hairline fracture in the middle finger of Dravid's right hand forcing him to retire hurt and thus making India's chances bleaker. Tendulkar, Ganguly, Laxman and Dhoni failed to live upto their reputation and dimmed into insignificance at precisely the moment when a forlorn star of Indian cricket chose to shine in full brilliance. It was none other than Virender Sehwag, who kept raising him game a rung higher to reach a milestone of a century in his career which not only saw India off the threat of succumbing to Aussie tornado but also enlivened hopes of a better innings with the bat from this master of the willow. India kept playing determinedly to stave off the prospect of Australian 2nd innings and the goal was achieved when the captains of both side and umpires called it a day with half an hour left in the game with India still batting. India ended up with a cricket score of 269 runs for 7 wickets and the match was declared drawn. Sachin Tendulkar was judged Man of the Match while Bret Lee received the trophy of Man of the Series. For all practical purposes, Australia won the series by 2-1 but something changed in the course of this series which might perhaps decide the future course of world cricket tomorrow.
Last Updated on 24 August 2012