Along with MCG, Sydney Cricket Ground is another iconic cricket ground where team India have played at least one test match in all their previous tours.
With the 4th test of the series scheduled on 3rd January let’s look into some of the memorable test matches at SCG involving India.
India’ Only Win @Sydney, 1977-78
After their first ever test win on Australian soil at Melbourne, it was a fair chance for India to win the Sydney test match and level the series. This would set a perfect stage for the deciding test match at Adelaide. Thanks to the spin trio, Bedi, Chandrasekhar and Prasanna, Australia were bundled out for 131 runs in less than 50 overs in the first innings. Bedi took 3 wickets and Chandrasekhar took 4 wickets. The opening duo Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan added 97 runs for the first wicket. Then Gundappa Viswanath scored a steady 79 and with decent supports from Vengsarkar (48), Kirmani (42) and Ghavri( 64) Indian declared their first innings for 396 runs. Australia had to score at least 265 to save an innings defeat and once again Indian spinners were back in action as they took wickets in regular intervals. This time Prasanna was the highest wicket-taker and he took 4 wickets in the second innings. Despite a steady 68 from Cosier and patient 85 from Peter Toohey, the yellow army was bowled out for 263 runs which gifted India a win by an innings and two runs.
An Opportunity Missed, 2003-04
It was a deciding test match at Sydney as the series was already leveled. This match was the last test match of Steve Waugh so there was a huge hype around it. India chose to bat first and Sachin Tendulkar scored a brilliant double hundred. With Sachin’s 241 and Laxman’s 178 India put a mammoth score of 705 runs in the first innings. Australia began strongly and the openers added 147 runs. Anil Kumble rose to the occasion and broke the partnership. He took next 3 wickets in regular intervals and never really gave a chance to Australia to settle on the crease. Australia still batted well and could score 474 runs with contribution from Langer and Katich. In the second innings, India added 211 runs and it is still debatable whether follow-on should have been imposed to Australia or not. On the final day, Kumble took 4 more wickets to end with 12 wickets in the match. Efforts from bowlers took India close to a memorable victory but with few lapses in the field, India missed the opportunity.
A Controversial Test, 2007-08
The New Year test at Sydney during India’s tour in 2007-08 was full of controversies and one of those games on Australian soil that Indian cricket would never forget because of some bittersweet moments. During first innings of India, Harbhajan Singh and Andrew Symonds went into racism controversy that threatened to affect relations between the two countries. Sachin was in the ’80s when Harbhajan joined him. Harbhajan was irritated by the sledging of Andrew Symonds. And during a heated argument, Harbhajan Singh allegedly called Andrew Symonds, the only colored cricketer of Australian cricket team, ‘Monkey’.
‘Monkeygate’ incident was just the beginning of that controversial match. On the 5th day of the match, Australia declared just before the lunch and India had to chase 333 runs in just two sessions. So for India, the key was to survive. India lost 3 quick wickets with just 54 on the board. Laxman and Tendulkar both were sent back to the pavilion, although one of the dismissals was given on a No-ball. Dravid and Ganguly batted together for more than 15 overs to add 61 runs in the total. Then Dravid was given out caught-behind in the bowling of Symonds when his bat was nowhere close to the ball. Few overs later Ganguly was given out when Michael Clarke took a catch on slip but that catch was not at all conclusive. Instead of checking with the third umpire, umpire Mark Benson checked with Ricky Ponting, the Australian captain and declared out. India collapsed dramatically late on the day to give Australia a last-gasp win.