It was at Cuttack in December 2000 that India went into a one-day match against Zimbabwe with four medium-pacers and one spinner.
Surprised by the shift from what had till then been the ploy used by most India captains, a reporter quizzed Sourav Ganguly. His reply was, “To win abroad we need fast bowlers and that’s why we must try them out at home.”
Years down the road, it must have been a heartening moment for Ganguly to see a new crop of medium-pacers snatch a memorable win at Perth. “It is very satisfying for me to see these guys deliver. I have always been a firm believer that to do well abroad you need fast bowlers,” the former skipper told HT on Sunday.
“The wicket had a lot for the fast bowlers and it was a question of hitting the right areas consistently, which our guys did. Ishant (Sharma) was brilliant. It was important not to get carried away with the bounce. The trick was to bowl not fully full and we won because our bowlers figured out the right length.”
The man under whom India started winning Tests abroad from the tours of the West Indies and England in 2002 felt the triumph was one of the best the team had achieved. “I will rate it alongside the wins in Headingley (2002) and Johannesburg (2006). It’s right up there because of the conditions, which are difficult for us. To beat Australia in Perth is huge because not may teams have done that. Adelaide (2003-04) was also memorable, but on the basis of the pitches we played on, the three I’ve mentioned will be ahead of the rest.”
He reckoned with the pitch assisting the bowlers of both teams, India won because their batsmen did better. “The Australians bowled well too and Stuart Clark was the pick of the lot because he pitched it up. The difference was that we batted better.”
There may have been disappointment on the personal front, but Ganguly played it down. “It’s just one Test where I failed to get runs. Let’s see what happens in Adelaide.”