Gautam Gambhir retires: Top 5 knocks played by the left-hander for India
Former India opener Gautam Gambhir’s career spanned for close to 2 decades and he played 58 Tests, scoring 4154 runs, at an average of 41.95, including nine centuries and 22 fifties. He played 147 ODIs, scoring 5238 runs at an average of 39.68 and a strike-rate of 85.25. He was also part of 37 T20Is for India.
On a day when he announced his retirement from all forms of the game, we take a look at his top 5 innings for India across all the three formats.
64 vs South Africa at Cape Town, 2011
This knock was a vintage Gambhir innings. Stoic, resolute and full of character.
India were chasing a target of 340 runs on Day 5 of the series decider. It was not an entirely bright start as the visitors lost Virender Sehwag quite early in the piece. Gambhir dropped anchor and batted in his own bubble. He batted for more than 4 hours and scored 64 off 184 deliveries.
When he was dismissed, India had just around 20 overs to negotiate and Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman ensured that India saved the match.
137 vs New Zealand at Napier, 2009
Between 2006 to 2010, Gautam Gambhir was at his absolute best and played some his finest innings. One such effort came in Napier in 2009 against New Zealand.
It was perhaps his best Test innings as he showed tremendous discipline, perseverance and mental strength.
New Zealand posted 619 in their first innings and India were dismissed for 305. Having being asked to follow on by Daniel Vettori, the visitors lost Virender Sehwag rather early. However, Gambhir buckled down and forged important partnerships with Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar to guide India to a position of safety.
When he was eventually dismissed, he had scored 137 off 436 deliveries, a vigil which lasted an incredible 643 minutes.
206 vs Australia at Delhi, 2008
The 2008 Border-Gavaskar series was an incredible series for Gautam Gambhir. His form was instrumental in India clinching the series. He scored 463 runs in 3 Tests at a phenomenal average of 77.16 with 2 centuries against his name. He also scored the only Test double century of his career in this series.
India did not get off to a bright start as they were reduced to 27 for 2 at one stage but Gautam Gambhir dug in and played a blinder, stitching partnerships with Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman. He scored 206 off 380 deliveries as India declared their innings at 613/7.
75 vs Pakistan, Johannesburg 2007
The stage was all set for the biggest match of the tournament in the inaugural World T20. India took on Pakistan in the big finals at the Wanderers.
Amidst all the hype and expectations, India did not get off a promising start. They lost Yusuf Pathan and Robin Uthappa in the powerplay. Yuvraj Singh, the man in form came and went, and this only put the Indians under pressure. However, Gambhir was resolute at the other end and kept accumulating runs. He broke free in the final few overs and ended with 75 which dragged India to 157 runs, a score which was just about enough for the eventual champions.
97 vs Sri Lanka, Mumbai 2011
Gautam Gambhir’s career would be incomplete without the mention of this epic knock he played in Mumbai. India were the hosts, they were in the finals, they were under pressure. Sri Lanka batted first, posted 274 and then hit back with two quick wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag. Walking out to bat at number 3, Gambhir not only soaked up all the pressure but kept transferring the pressure to the opposition.
He settled the nerves with Virat Kohli and then took India to the finishing line with MS Dhoni. Captain Dhoni was adjudged the man of the match, but Gambhir’s 97 was just as important.