BEST OF THREE
Top 3 Test centuries by Indian batsmen post 2001
The Indian cricket team is sitting pretty atop the ICC Test Rankings at the moment, but their supremacy is going to undergo a tough challenge in the coming months. With a grueling cricket season ahead including three very competitive Test series in West Indies, England and Australia, India’s mettle is going to severely tested. India’s resurgence and subsequent excellence in Test cricket began after that fateful match at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata in 2001 against Australia and it has been steep climb to its current position at the top of the table. This journey has been marked with some brilliant performances on the field and strategic preparations off it. Here is a look at the Top 3 Test centuries by Indian batsmen post 2001.
VVS LAXMAN’S 281
Laxman’s historic innings of 281 runs against the Mighty Aussies at Kolkata in March 2001 was Very Very Special for more than one reason. Australia was the Number 1 team in the world and led by Steve Waugh was out to conquer the Final Frontier by winning a test series in India, Australia had won the first test at Mumbai by 10 wickets, India had got out cheaply for 171 in the first innings and were following on, both the openers and Sachin Tendulkar had collapsed quickly while following on and India was staring at a sure defeat. But that was when Laxman played an innings that no cricket fan was ever going to forget! Captain Ganguly had promoted Laxman up the order as he was the highest scorer in the first innings and he paid back the faith of his captain in full measure. A mammoth innings lasting 631 minutes and 452 balls, studded with 44 immaculate boundaries later, VVS Laxman not only out batted Australia, he also wrote his name in cricket history in bold letters. In the words of the man himself, "Nothing can ever compare with that innings. 281 at Eden Gardens will always be ahead. That was my most memorable knock ever." In the end India won that test by 171 runs, went on to win the series and jumpstarted the rise of the Indian team we have today.
2. RAHUL DRAVID’S 233
Rahul Dravid has often been called ‘The Wall of Indian cricket’, but I believe he is more ‘The Foundation of Indian cricket” he has orchestrated numerous victories for India on the back if his gritty knocks. Most of 31 test centuries have come when the team needed its Number 3 batsman to stand up. It was tough to choose his best innings for me but ultimately his 233 against Australia in the Adelaide test in December 2003 beat his highest score of 270 against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in 4004 and his centuries in both innings against Pakistan at Kolkata. The one thing clearly embedded in my mind about this particular innings and match is the tears of Rahul Dravid post victory. India had gone one up in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and this win was considered India’s finest away from home. Dravid batted for 594 minutes and 446 balls along with 23 fours and a six to reach his 233 which set up the win for India. India went on to draw that series 1-1 but completely deserved to be called the real victors of the tourney.
3. VIRENDER SEHWAG’S 309
Virender Sehwag may have against his name the 3 highest scores by an Indian batsmen in test cricket with 2 tripe and 1 almost triple century and a extraordinary 196 against at Melbourne, but according to me his most special innings would be the first 300 by an Indian batsmen. 2004, Multan, India had just rejoined cricketing ties with Pakistan and this was the first test match of the series, India was batting first and opener Sehwag trolled in with his bat. What followed next was complete madness by Sehwag’s willow but to a cricket fan, there was immense method in his madness! Sehwag reached his triple hundred in style with a 6 of spinner Saqlain Mushtaq and enthralled audiences all over with his carnage of the Pakistani bowling. (That he got out soon after, and that to a lame shot, is another typical Sehwag story) India went on the win that match and the series and Viru went on to earn his famed title ‘Sultan of Multan”
P.S. There are a number of other brilliant innings by Indian batsmen in the last decade which have brought India to this level and many of which most people consider to be the best by an Indian batsmen. Also I haven’t mentioned a single century of the man with the most centuries in test cricket Sachin Tendulkar which will be considered blasphemous of me by some sections of cricket fans. However this is an opinion piece and these are the Top 3 tons according to me, you are welcome to disagree.