This day, that year: Azharuddin magic hands Australia their heaviest post-war Test defeat
When recalling India’s greatest Test wins over Australia, most people recall the 2001 encounter in Kolkata in which VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid saved the match for their side. But it is not India’s biggest win against the mighty Aussies in Test cricket. In 1998, exactly 22 years ago from this day, India handed Australia their heaviest defeat in the longest format in post World War II era.
Australia, led by Mark Taylor, did not have the best bowling line up, with Paul Wilson and Gary Robertson leading the charge as pacers along with the legendary Shane Warne. India, led by Mohammad Azharuddin, had already won the first Test in the series and were eyeing a similar result at Eden Gardens in Kolkata in the 2nd Test.
After winning the toss and electing to bat, Australia were bundled out for a meagre total of 233, with Javagal Srinath, Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble picking three wickets each.
In reply, India managed to put on a massive total of 633/5 before Azharuddin declared the innings. He was the star of India’s batting performance. All the top five batsmen - VVS Laxman, Navjot Sidhu, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly managed to score fifties. But the Indian skipper went all the way and remained unbeaten on 163, before calling off India’s innings.
In the 2nd innings, Kumble picked up five wickets as Australia were once again bowled out for 181, losing the match by an innings and 219 runs. It was Australia’s 4th largest defeat in Tests.
Australia’s biggest Test defeat margins:
1938 - Innings and 579 runs vs England
1892 - Innings and 230 runs vs England
1912 - Innings and 225 runs vs England
1998 - Innings and 219 runs vs India
1886 - Innings and 217 runs vs England