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Australia series applauded as one of India's best

Former Test players have hailed India's shock 1-1 result against world champions Australia as one of their greatest achievements in Test history.

india Updated: Jan 06, 2004 18:06 IST
Reuters
Reuters
PTI

Former Test players have hailed India's shock 1-1 result against world champions Australia as one of their greatest achievements in Test history.

Saurav Ganguly's team embarked on the tour under severe pressure because of an intimidating past in Australia, where their batsmen had never been able to cope with fast, bouncy wickets. Some experts had predicted a 4-0 whitewash.

"For the first time the world will start looking at the Indian Test team as one of the two best sides in the world," Sanjay Manjrekar told Reuters on Tuesday.

"We won the one-day World Cup in 1983 and the World Series tournament in Australia in 1985, but never before has our Test team been looked at in this light. It's a great result," the former Test batsman said by phone from Bombay.

India drew the rain-hit first Test at Brisbane, captain Ganguly leading with a blistering 144, and then pulled off a stunning four-wicket win at Adelaide with man-of-the-series Rahul Dravid cracking 233 and 72 not out.

Australia hit back at Melbourne with a nine-wicket victory and the final Test, Australian skipper Steve Waugh's last, ended in a thrilling draw after Sachin Tendulkar hit 241 not out and India amassed 705 for seven, their highest-ever total in Tests.

"Apart from the result, the confidence that India played with and the pure entertainment they provided while matching a team like Australia shot for shot, was exceptional," Manjrekar said.

BRIGHT FUTURE

Chief selector Syed Kirmani hailed the result, which ensured India retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy by virtue of their 2-1 win at home two years ago, as the sign of a brighter future.

"It's a wonderful revival after not doing well in the last couple of series," the former Test wicketkeeper said.

"The Indian team has exhibited a unique killer instinct and a will to fight back after being written off even before the series started. My congratulations to captain Ganguly."

The Indian skipper came in for special praise.

"Ganguly will have to take a lot of credit," Manjrekar said. "His leadership has had a big impact in the entire Indian batting lineup coming together, right from Virender Sehwag to Vangipurappu Laxman."

India and Australia play the first match of a triangular one-day tournament, also involving Zimbabwe, on Friday.

First Published: Jan 06, 2004 18:06 IST