Podcast: Aakash Chopra Recalls India’s ‘Special’ Win v Aus in 2003
Former India cricketer Aakash Chopra recalls the Adelaide Test against Australia in 2003 as part of The Quint’s podcast series ‘Greatest Game of My Life’.
Unlike the current Indian team, who is expected to win while touring abroad, the squad that toured Australia in 2003-04 had been dismissed before they even reached the field, recollected Chopra.
“When we boarded that flight to Australia, everybody had written us off, including some of the board officials who said that the four-match Test series would end 4-0 in Australia’s favour.
“And there was merit in that argument,” admitted Aakash, who opened with Virender Sehwag in all 10 Tests that he played for India between 2003 and 2004. Before that game in Adelaide, India had not won a Test match in Australia in 22 years.
The first Test of the series ended in a draw, and Chopra said that the Indian team drew a lot of heart from that because “not losing in Brisbane was an achievement in itself”.
In the second match at Adelaide, the hosts won the toss, opted to bat and put up a massive total of 556, courtesy Ricky Ponting’s 242.
India started their innings with a 66-run opening stand between Chopra and Sehwag, but lost wickets in quick succession to be reduced to 85/4 after just 21 overs. Rahul Dravid (233) and VVS Laxman (148) then staged a massive comeback with a 303-run stand, helping India post 523 – just 33 runs short of the Aussies’ total.
The visitors then bowled Australia out for just 189, and achieved their 230-run target with relative ease.
“Even though Sehwag and I had a decent opening partnership, we lost four quick wickets. Following on was a very realistic possibility. From there, Rahul went on to score a double century, and Laxman scored 148 runs. We fell short, but we dismissed them cheaply and ended up winning the game,” said Chopra.
“It took some time for us to realise, appreciate and acknowledge what we had accomplished, and then it resonated in the country as well. There was a lot of Indian support and diaspora,” he added.
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