The Melbourne Test between Australia and India saw Ajinkya Rahane and his men script one of the greatest comebacks in Test cricket. India were bowled out for their lowest Test score of 36 in their second innings at Adelaide, and then to come back and win the next Test is nothing but a great show of character, fight, and determination.
Cricket has a long list of such occasions when a team or a player has scripted one of the most memorable comebacks in Test matches or series. Cricwizz takes a look at such moments in this century.
India beat Australia 2-1 in 2001
India were down and out in the 2001 series against Australia, staring at series defeat in the second Test when they were reduced to 232/4 in the second innings on the third day, needing another 42 runs to make Australia bat again. On the fourth day, VVS Laxman (281) and Rahul Dravid (180) remained unconquered and stitched a stand of 376 runs for the fifth wicket. The bowlers then did the rest to bowl out Australia for 212 runs after a target of 384 runs was set on the fifth day. India then won the third Test to win the series 2-1 after losing the first Test.
South Africa beat India 2-1 in 2006
The first Test at Johannesburg between South Africa and India in 2006 saw Rahul Dravid and his men post 249. S Sreesanth then took 5/40 to bowl out South Africa for just 84. The hosts didn't recover from there, as India posted their first Test win on South African soil. But the Proteas, who were terribly hurt with the loss, came back strongly, and posted 2 wins in the next two Tests to win the series 2-1 to record one of the greatest comebacks in Test cricket in this century.
England vs Australia at Leeds 2019
England were 0-1 down going into the third test at Leeds. They were bowled out for just 67 in the first innings, and were then set a tough target of 359. No one expected England to win, but all-rounder Ben Stokes stood amid the ruins, taking England single-handedly towards the victory. With England 286/9, defeat loomed large, but Stokes combined with last batsman Jack Leach to stitch a match-winning stand of 76 runs to take England to a memorable comeback win. Stokes made a fluent 135 not out.
Sri Lanka vs South Africa at Durban, 2019
What Stokes did against Australia, Kusal Perera of Sri Lanka had handed the same treatment to South Africa a few months ago. He rallied with last batsman Vishwa Fernando to stitch an unbeaten last-wicket stand of 78 runs to take Sri Lanka across the finish line, and seal one of the greatest comeback wins in Test cricket. Kusal struck one of the greatest Test innings of 153 not out in this century.
Australia vs West Indies at Antigua, 2003
Australia had a 3-0 lead going into the fourth Test at Antigua against West Indies in 2003. They had set up a target of 418 runs and looked poised to rout West Indies 4-0 after the hosts were staring at defeat at 165/4 with captain Brian Lara back to the pavilion. But Ramnaresh Sarwan (105) and Shivnarine Chanderpaul (104) struck a ton each to revive the chase. The eight wicket pair of Omari Banks (47) and Vasbert Drakes (27) then put up 46 runs to seal a three-wicket win, and record the highest successful chase in Test cricket history.
Cover image: India during the Melbourne Test against Australia in 2020
Cover image courtesy: BCCI Facebook page