India’s thrilling series with Australia was packed with drama and controversy at every turn as the tourists defied the odds… but where does it rank among Test cricket’s greatest-ever series?
- India pulled off a miraculous victory over Australia in thrilling Test series
- They chased down victory target of 328 with a depleted line-up at the Gabba
- It was a spectacular end to a series that offered drama and intrigue at every turn
- The 2005 Ashes series in England is regarded by many as the greatest series
- Others would points to the dramatic India vs Australia series of 2000-01
- Meeting of Australia and West Indies in 1960-61 is credited with saving the game
A Test series that had pretty much everything ended in a miraculous victory for India over Australia.
Over four compelling Tests, the drama ebbed and flowed in a contest packed with sub-plots from India’s Covid-19 quarantine and injury problems to the spectacular backfiring of Tim Paine’s sledging.
India pulled off a miraculous victory over Australia by chasing down a victory target of 328
Rishabh Pant was India’s hero as his unbeaten 89 guided them to victory on day five
It was a tough one to take for Australia captain Tim Paine and his team after a dramatic series
But for all their herculean efforts, nobody predicted they’d be able to chase down 328 to win on the final day of the decisive Test in Australia’s Gabba fortress.
They did in style, with Shubman Gill and Rishabh Pant writing their named into Indian cricket folklore by steering them home.
But where does this thrilling Test series rank among the greatest of all-time? Wisden editor LAWRENCE BOOTH gives his verdict.
5. Australia 3-2 England, 1936-37
For the only time in Test history, a team came from 2-0 down to win. Needless to say, the victors had Don Bradman in their ranks.
After Gubby Allen’s England had won at Brisbane and Sydney, Bradman responded with 270 from No 7 on a sticky dog at Melbourne, 212 at Adelaide and 169 on the return to Melbourne. Job done.
The great Don Bradman bats against England during an Ashes series – his heroics helped Australia recover from two Tests down to win the 1936-37 series on home soil
4. India 2-1 Australia, 2000-01
Steve Waugh’s Australians went 1-0 up with a 10-wicket win at Mumbai, their 16th Test victory in a row, then made India follow on at Kolkata.
But VVS Laxman responded with an epic 281, Rahul Dravid scored 180, and Harbhajan Singh took six wickets to square the series.
India then secured a breathless two-wicket win at Chennai.
Indian batsman VVS Laxman celebrates reaching his double century against Australia in 2001
3. Australia 2-1 West Indies, 1960-61
Regarded as the series that saved Test cricket after various pitch-doctoring and chucking controversies of the 1950s, this classic began with the format’s first tie, at Brisbane.
Australia won the second Test, and West Indies the third, before Frank Worrell’s tourists were denied victory in the fourth when No 11 Lindsay Kline hung on at Adelaide for 109 minutes.
Australia then chased down 258 to win the decider at Melbourne by two wickets. West Indies were seen off with a ticker-tape parade through the city’s streets.
Test cricket’s first tie happened at Brisbane in 1960 when Ian Meckiff was run out by Joe Solomon of the West Indies
2. Australia 1-2 India, 2020-21
All out for 36 in the first Test, with an injury list longer than most batting line-ups, and the captain Virat Kohli away on paternity leave, India completed an astonishing fightback by chasing 328 to win at Fortress Gabba.
The Indian team parade their flag on a lap of honour at the Gabba after a win for the ages
Pant smashes a six during his brilliant unbeaten 89 to steer India to victory in Brisbane
1. England 2-1 Australia, 2005
So much crammed into five games: England won by two runs at Edgbaston, Australia clung on nine down at Old Trafford, England enforced the follow-on at Trent Bridge and almost lost, then Kevin Pietersen’s last-day heroics at The Oval.
At the end, England had won the Ashes for the first time since 1986-87.
Andrew Flintoff is mobbed by his England team-mates amid his heroics at Edgbaston in 2005
Kevin Pietersen’s 158 at The Oval ensured the Ashes would be England’s for the first time since 1986-87
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