Johannesburg: India cricket team’s fortress away from home
Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team achieved a magnificent 63-run win on a tough Wanderers wicket which continued their great run at this venue and has given them plenty of confidence to turn their overseas woes around.Updated: Jan 30, 2018 16:31 IST
Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team salvaged some pride in the series against South Africa with a 63-run win in the Johannesburg Test. The win was made sweeter considering the win was achieved on a very dodgy wicket and it had come in the backdrop of India’s overseas woes previously in England, Australia and New Zealand. Although India lost the series 1-2, the win in Johannesburg has given the Indian players and their fans some optimism heading into future overseas assignments.
The victory at the Wanderers established the Indian team’s love affair with the venue, which is strangely considered the visitor’s fortress. Ever since they started touring South Africa in 1992, Johannesburg has been the only venue that has given India plenty of smiles. Along with Johannesburg, there are several other venues around the world where India have achieved glory. The criteria is that India should have played more than two Tests at this venue and have a W/L ratio of over 1.
1) Fortress Johannesburg - India’s home away from home
M - 5, W - 2, L - 0, D -3
In their first Test at this venue in 1992, South Africa were reduced to 26/4 before they fought back thanks to Brian McMillan’s 98. Sachin Tendulkar scored 111 and became the youngest to go past 1000 runs in Tests at the age of 19. Although India could only drawn the match, they had given South Africa plenty of nervous moments. In 1996, Rahul Dravid’s majestic 148 and 81 almost put India on the cusp of a win but rain and bad light spoiled their march. In 2006, India secured their first-ever victory in South Africa with a 123-run win in the first Test thanks to eight wickets from Sreesanth. In 2013, Virat Kohli’s 119, 96 combined with Cheteshwar Pujara’s 153 put India on top but South Africa just fell short in their pursuit of 458. In 2018, on a difficult track, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah’s five-wicket hauls gave India plenty to smile about.
2) Port of Spain - India’s Port of Gain
P - 13, W - 3, L - 3, D - 7
India had started badly at this venue from the 50s till the 60s, drawing two and losing two games in 1953 and 1962 respectively. However, in 1971, this venue was etched in history as Dilip Sardesai’s 112 and Srinivas Venkataraghavan’s 5/95 gave India their first Test and series on West Indies soil. In 1976, India continued their great run with centuries from Sunil Gavaskar (102) and Gundappa Viswanath (112) helped India chase down 406 in the fourth innings, a world record chase at that time. After a loss in 1989, India won the 2002 Test by 37 runs thanks to Tendulkar’s 117 and an all-round bowling effort.
3) Seddon Park Hamilton - India’s ground of joy
P - 4, W - 1, L - 1, D - 2
The venue has provided plenty of cheer to Indian cricket. After drawing the first Test, India salvaged a draw in 1999 when Rahul Dravid scored centuries in both innings. In 2002, on a green deck, India were bowled out for 99 but Zaheer Khan’s 5/29 gave the visitors a five-run lead. Dravid top-scored again with 39 but India were bowled out for 154. Once again, New Zealand crumbled but they stayed calm and won the match by four wickets. In 2009, Tendulkar’s brilliant 160 and Harbhajan Singh’s 6/63 helped India to a 10-wicket win. The victory helped India win a series in New Zealand for the first time in 41 years after draws in Napier and Wellington.
4) Eden Park, Auckland - India’s garden of Eden
P - 5, W - 2, L - 1, D - 2
India secured their first-ever series win in New Zealand in 1968 when Erapalli Prasanna took eight wickets in the match to help India win in Auckland by 272 runs. In 1976, Surinder Amarnath (124), Gavaskar (116) and Prasanna’s haul of 11 in the match gave India an eight-wicket win. In 2014, India were punished by Kane Williamson (113) and Brendon McCulum (224) but a spirited bowling performance in the second innings gave India a chance for a win. Shikhar Dhawan (115) and Kohli (67) got India close but Neil Wagner’s 4/62 consigned India to a 40-run loss, their first-ever defeat at this venue.