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Independence Day Special: Golden moments of Indian sports - Part 3

Hindustan Times takes a look at seventy-two moments of sporting glory in our Independence Day special. Here is the final part of a three-part series.

other sports Updated: Aug 16, 2018 17:04 IST
Manish K Pathak
Manish K Pathak
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Independence day,India,Indian Sports
MULTAN, PAKISTAN: Indian batsman Virender Sehwag celebrates after scoring his triple century during the second day of the first Test match between Pakistan and Indian in Multan, 29 March 2004. (AFP/Getty Images)

It has been more than seven decades since India broke the shackles of colonialism. Even as a fledgeling nation took its first steps towards growth and development after its independence from British rule on August 15, 1947, sports became an instrument of instant global recognition. The relentless pursuit of glory on a sporting field gave birth to new aspirations and also provided a vent for patriotic fervour. There have been several milestones achieved in multiple sporting disciplines over these years by Indians. We, at Hindustan Times, take a look at seventy-two such moments of glory in our Independence Day special. Here is the final part of a three-part series.

ALSO READ: Independence Day Special: Golden moments of Indian sports - Part 1

ALSO READ: Independence Day Special: Golden moments of Indian sports - Part 2

51) 2004: Sehwag conquers Multan

After a long hiatus, India travelled to Pakistan for a bilateral series. The visitors got the ball rolling by winning the ODI series and then it was Virender Sehwag’s turn to script history in the first Test match at Multan. He walked out and smacked the Pakistan bowlers all over the park as he became the first Indian to score a triple hundred in a Test match.

He scored 309 in the first innings as India won the match by an innings and 52 runs.

52) 2004: India clinches the Test series

A dominant Indian side outplayed Pakistan in the first and third Test matches and won the series for the very first time in Pakistan.

Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid, and Sachin Tendulkar shone with the bat and Irfan Pathan and Laxmipathy Balaji drove home the advantage with the ball as India scripted history by winning the series for the very first time in Pakistan.

A jubilant Indian cricket team pose for photographers with their trophy after they won the third and final Test match between Pakistan and India at the Pindi Cricket stadium in Rawalpindi, 16 April 2004. India completed a historic maiden series victory on Pakistan soil after crushing their arch-rivals in the decisive Test by an innings and 131 runs. (AFP/Getty Images)

53) 2005: Narain Karthikeyan zooms ahead

It was another glorious moment in India’s sporting history as Narain Karthikeyan became the first Indian driver to enter the Formula One race track when he joined team Jordan. He went to be a Williams F1 test driver in 2006 and 2007.

He had previously competed in the A1GP and the Le Mans Series.

Jordan team's Indian driver Narain Karthikeyan watches a monitor a he checks the progress of the qualifying session of the Formula One Japan Grand Prix at the Suzuka circuit in central Japan, 08 October 2005. Karthikeyan finished eleventh with a time of 1:48.718 while Ralf Schumacher of Toyota won the pole. (YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)

54) 2005: Pankaj Advani sizzles

He was just 19-year-old but it did not prove to be a deterrent for Pankaj Advani as he became the first player to win in both points and time formats in the IBSF World Billiards Championship in Malta.

55) 2005: Sania serves an ace

The young Hyderabadi-sensation became the first Indian woman to win a WTA singles title when she clinched the AP Tourism Hyderabad open.

It has since been a glorious career for her as she was the number 1 doubles player in the world for quite some time. She also has six grand slam titles to her name.

56) 2007: Jeev Milkha scripts history

In 2007, Jeev Milkha Singh became the first Indian Golf professional to take part in the European Tour. He has since won four events on the European Tour to become the most successful Indian on the tour. He was conferred with the 4th highest civilian honour, the Padma Shri by the Indian government in the same year.

57) 2007: MS Dhoni brings home World T20

The format was new, the Indian team was a young one, the captain was a new face, and no one gave them a chance. India went into the World T20 as complete outsiders and they danced, sang, smashed, and won matches to eventually pip Pakistan in the finals to bring home an ICC World Title after 1983.

It was also the beginning of the MS Dhoni era as the leader of the side.

58) 2008: Abhinav Bindra shoots Gold

A brand new chapter was written when shooter Abhinav Bindra became the first Indian to bag an individual gold medal at the Olympics when he shot gold in the 10m rifle shooting in Beijing.

Abhinav Bindra of India poses with his gold medal in the Men's 10m Air Rifle Final at the Beijing Shooting Range Hall on day 3 of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games on August 11, 2008 in Beijing. (Getty Images)

59) 2008: Vijender Singh powers through

It was a good year for India at the Olympics. Bindra won Gold and a young Haryana boxer, Vijender Singh boxed his way to a bronze medal. In the process, he became the first Indian boxer ever to win a medal at the Olympics.

60) 2008: India beat Australia in the CB series

Against a mighty Australian side, the Indians led by that man, MS Dhoni not only beat them on their own turf but also dropped the hammer as far as Australian dominance is concerned.

The Indian side beat Australia in Sydney, and then followed it up with another win in Brisbane to win the 2 finals in the best of 3 finals and scripted history.

61) 2008: A new party is in town

The Indian Premier League was born and it would change the way cricket was played across the globe. It started the franchise system, it started player auctions, money was splurged, there were cheerleaders, boundaries between countries vanished. It was one big part and 10 years down the line, it has changed the way cricket is being played.

Other countries have started their own domestic T20 leagues, but the IPL remains the top draw.

62) 2008: India host and win the AFC Challenger Cup

After Chinese Taipei could not guarantee it would meet AFC standards for hosting an event, India hosted the tournament after a host of other nations withdrew.

India topped group A with seven points to make it to semi-finals along with Tajikistan. In a narrow semi India got the better of Myanmar with Sunil Chhetri scoring the winner.

The final saw a rematch from the group stages as India squared off against Tajikistan but unlike the last time India comfortably saw of their opponents 4-1 thanks to a Chhetri hattrick and qualified for the 2011 Asia Cup.

63) 2010: Sachin slams 200 in ODIs

India took on South Africa at Gwalior and batted first. Sachin Tendulkar took guard and started his innings. It was a measured one and yet he was motoring along. He got to his century in the around the 26th over and then kept chugging along. He approached 200 and then dabbed a wide yorker from Charl Langeveldt to AB de Villiers at point to bring up his 200, and became the first man to ever do so in ODI history.

Ravi Shastri famously said: ‘First man on the planet to score 200 and it is the superman from India’

64) 2011: India win the World Cup

After Kapil Dev led India to the 1983 World Cup triumph, Mahendra Singh Dhoni emulated him by leading a spirited bunch to a world cup glory in 2011.

India were always the favourites leading into the World Cup and barring a loss against South Africa never looked in trouble. On April 2, 2011, MS Dhoni played an absolute blinder and he was supported by Gautam Gambhir as India shrugged Sri Lanka away to lift the cup in Mumbai.

Indian cricketers pose with the trophy after victory in the Cricket World Cup 2011 final over Sri Lanka at The Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai on April 2, 2011. India beat Sri Lanka by six wickets. (INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP/Getty Images)

65) 2011: Formula One comes home

India hosts its first-ever Formula One Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida. However, it ran into tax troubles as the Uttar Pradesh government never considered F1 a sport.

66) 2012: Magnificent Mary

Boxer Mary Kom won a bronze in women’s boxing which was introduced for the first time at the London Olympics. The Indian champion has five World Titles in her bag.

67) 2012: Sushil Kumar bags a double

Boxer Sushil Kumar became the only Indian to win two individual Olympic medals when he won silver at the London Olympics. He had earlier won a bronze medal in the Beijing games.

68) 2012: Wonder girl Deepika

The young superstar from Jharkhand announced her arrival at the International stage when she won her first World Cup individual wins her first World Cup individual recurve (archery) gold medal at Antalya, Turkey. The same year, she also became the number 1 archer in the world.

69) 2012: Sachin Tendulkar the 100 hundred man

India took on Bangladesh at Mirpur in 2012, Sachin Tendulkar who was stranded on 99 centuries for over a year, finally managed to got the monkey off the back when he got a single off Shakib al Hasan and reached his 100th century in his career.

“Dreams do come true”, Sachin said after reaching this feat. The record still holds and perhaps, is one record which might well stand the test of time.

70) 2015: Super Saina number 1

India’s ace Saina Nehwal scripted won the Indian Open BWF Super Series. She had also won the bronze medal in the 2012 London Olympics and continued her winning the spree and scaled the rankings.

71) 2016: India’s Olympic run

Sakshi Malik ended India’s barren run at the games by clinching Bronze by becoming the first Indian female wrestler to win an Olympic medal with a bronze in the 58kg wrestling at Rio.

PV Sindhu took it forward by winning silver in badminton.

Dipa Karmakar, captured India with her Produnova when she became the first gymnast at the Olympics. She could not get a podium finish, but she ensured India wakes up to gymnastics.

Bronze medalist Sakshi Malik of India stands during the medal ceremony after the Women's Freestyle 58 kg competition on Day 12 of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games at Caioca Arena 2 on August 17, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Getty Images)

72) 2017: Mithali’s eves capture England

Mithali Raj-led Indian team entered the finals of the Cricket World Cup and faced hosts England in an absolute humdinger. Although they were defeated in the final moments, they did enough to ensure that the tournament was a watershed moment in women’s cricket in the country.

Earlier, in the semi-finals, Harmanpreet Kaur played possibly the greatest innings in a World Cup (both men and women) when she walked and leathered Australia with an astounding 171-run innings.

First Published: Aug 15, 2018 08:48 IST