With Border-Gavaskar Trophy holders India pulling off a gripping draw at the Sydney Cricket Ground, the battle for the series is still alive going into the fourth and final Test at the Gabba in Brisbane. The visitors, hit by a spate of injuries, face a tall ask at the venue, famously referred to as the ‘Gabbatoir’ due to Australia’s strong record there. Out of 62 Tests at the Gabba, Australia have won 40 and lost only eight.
Moreover, Australia have not lost a Test at the Gabba in over 30 years – their latest loss at the ground was against the West Indies in 1988-89. Since then, they have won 24 Tests and drawn seven. Though India’s record at the Gabba reads five defeats and a draw, they have often displayed grit. As we wait for the decider to unfold, here is a look back at Test centuries and five-wicket hauls by Indian players at the Gabba.
6/104 by Erapalli Prasanna, Third Test, 1967-68
Leading the four-match series 2-0, Australia gained a first-innings cushion of 100 to put themselves in a strong position. They then motored to 116/0, before off-spinner Prasanna pulled things back. He scalped opener Ian Redpath for the second time in the match, trapping him on the pads for 79, and went on to claim five of the last six wickets to fall. His 6/104 from 33.4 eight-ball overs helped limit India’s target to 395.
101 by Motganhalli Jaisimha, Third Test, 1967-68
This was Jaisimha’s first match on the tour, and he impressed with 74 in the first innings. He came in at 154/4 in the second dig, with India still needing 241 for an unlikely win. He made India believe for as long as he was there, adding 119 for the sixth wicket with Chandu Borde (63). But the last five wickets fell for 45 to give Australia a 39-run victory. Jaisimha was last out, having batted for nearly five hours.
5/55 by Bishan Singh Bedi, First Test, 1977-78
India had their best chance to succeed in Australia, what with the hosts missing several top players due to the Packer exodus. Skipper Bedi led from the front with his left-arm spin on the first day. He struck off his first ball and continued to befuddle a batting line-up featuring six debutants. Had it not been for 82 from Peter Toohey, one of the debutants, Australia would have ended up with a lot less than 166.
5/72 by Madan Lal, First Test, 1977-78
Australia fought back with the ball to gain a first-innings lead of 13. But their second innings began in disastrous fashion, as Madan Lal got rid of openers Gary Cosier and Paul Hibbert with only six runs on the board. The score further fell to 7/3, but eventually recovered to 327. The medium pacer added three more wickets to finish with 5/72 from 19 eight-ball overs – the best return by an Indian pacer at the Gabba.
113 by Sunil Gavaskar, First Test, 1977-78
Despite being in advantageous positions more than once, India were left to chase 341. Gavaskar lost fellow opener Dilip Vengsarkar cheaply, before sharing in stands of 81 with Mohinder Amarnath for the second wicket and 59 with Gundappa Viswanath for the third wicket. When he was sixth out for a 320-minute 113 with 12 fours, India needed 98. Syed Kirmani (55) battled hard with the tail, but India lost by just 16 runs.
5/95 by Zaheer Khan, First Test, 2003-04
Australia ended the first day of this rain-affected drawn Test at 262/2, with Zaheer taking the wickets of Matthew Hayden and Ricky Ponting. The left-arm seamer was not done yet, as he dismissed captain Steve Waugh and Adam Gilchrist (both for ducks) in successive overs before netting Simon Katich as his fifth victim. His 5/95 from 23 overs contributed towards Australia’s collapse from 268/2 to 323 all out.
144 by Sourav Ganguly, First Test, 2003-04
Replying to Australia’s 323, India were 61/0 early on the fourth day. However, the key wickets of Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar fell for the addition of just one run. This wobble brought to the middle captain Ganguly, who went on the charge in the course of his sparkling 196-ball effort that included 18 fours. He added 146 for the fifth wicket with VVS Laxman (75), and helped his team to a lead of 86.
144 by Murali Vijay, Second Test, 2014-15
Keen to equalise after a thrilling defeat at Adelaide, India posted a healthy 408. Opener Vijay matched Ganguly’s score from 11 years earlier, facing 213 balls in about five and a half hours and striking 22 fours. He put on 124 for the fourth wicket with Ajinkya Rahane (81). But India’s inability to wipe the tail off (Australia went from 247/6 to 505) and a second-innings total of 224 meant that they lost by four wickets.