The iconic HPCA stadium in Dharamsala is all set to witness it’s first ever Test match. The coin will flip for the first time at the scenic venue in the longest format on March 25 when the two teams India and Australia take center stage for the final encounter. The four-match Test series is level at 1-1 with the last match to be played at one of the most beautiful grounds in the country. After all the verbal spats and sledging, both on and off-field, the two teams will now lock horns in the decider. But this is not the first time that Australia have found themselves in a state where they would have to battle it out in the deciding match.
Australia v India, SCG, 2004
The 2003-04 India’s tour of Australia is still remembered as one of the finest ones. The roller-coaster ride in the series took the excitement to the next level and the Sydney Cricket Ground was totally up for another spectacular tie. After winning the toss India got off to a flying start. But the real drama popped up when Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman smashed a mammoth stand of 353 runs for the fourth wicket. Tendulkar didn’t really enjoy a great run that tour but this innings from the former skipper changed everything. He scored a brutal 241 runs which was his then career best. Alongside, Laxman too chipped in with 178 runs to guide India to a total of 705/7 (decl.) in the first innings. In reply Australia were bundled out for 474 runs after Justin Langer and Simon Katich came up with individual hundreds. In the second innings, Tendulkar once again came up with an aesthetic knock of unbeaten 60 runs with Rahul Dravid who remained not out at 91. India scored 211/2 in the second innings handing Australia a target of 443 runs in the second innings. Though, some good batting performances from the Aussie batting line up anchored the match towards a draw.
England v Australia, The Oval, 2005
The 2005 Ashes series came to a nail-biting situation when England took a 2-1 lead with one match left to go. The fifth match of the series was scheduled to take place at the Oval. Batting first England posted 373 after Andrew Strauss smashed a hundred. Later, Justin Langer and Matthew Hayden’s heroics with he bat went in vain as the visitors failed to grab a lead in the first innings. The Australians were dismissed for 367 after Andrew Flintoff and Matthew Hoggard ripped apart the Kangaroo batting to share a total of nine wickets. The second innings of the English team saw fourth hundred of the match when Kevin Pietersen notched up his ton providing England with a massive lead to set up a huge target of 342 runs for Australia. The match ended in a draw but England took away that prestigious urn as they had already taken the lead in the series.
Australia v India, Nagpur, 2008
The Indian team has been a dominant force against the visiting Australians for quite some time now. In 2008 India backed a series win after they clinched the fourth and last Test in Nagpur. India already led the series and this win in Nagpur wrapped up the series for the home side by a margin of 2-0. Tendulkar came up with a fascinating hundred in the first innings to guide the hosts to 441 in the first innings. In reply, Australia posted 355 runs riding on Katich’s hundred. Virender Sehwag then chipped in with an aggressive 92 to anchor India’s lead to 381 runs. An iconic moment took place in the match when MS Dhoni unofficially handed the captaincy to Sourav Ganguly, who was playing his last Test. Harbhajan Singh scalped four wickets as India won the match by 172 runs.
England v Australia, The Oval, 2009
England team once again dominated Australia in the 2009 Ashes series. After leveling it at 1-1, England grabbed a scintillating win at the Oval. Australia witnessed a flurry of wickets while replying to England’s 332 and were wrapped up for 160 runs. Later, in the second innings, England smashed a total of 373 to give Australia a target of 546 runs. Australia were all out for 348 to lose the match and series by 197 runs.
Australia v South Africa, WACA Ground, 2012
It seems Australia have never really coped well with a decider. On this occasion, the three-match series was locked at 0-0 and the encounter at Perth would have chosen the winner. Faf du Plessis had just made his debut for Proteas in Test matches and he was making a mark with authority. South Africa after batting first just managed 225 runs in the first innings while bundling out Australia for 163. In the second innings, the visitors piled up a total of 569 runs thus handing a target of 532 runs to Australia. Dale Steyn and Robin Peterson picked up three wickets apiece and concluded the Australian innings for 322.
South Africa v Australia, Newlands, 2014
In 2014, Australia did turn tables when the three match series was squared at 1-1. The two teams travelled to Cape Town for the deciding clash. Australia set up a massive 494/7 in the first innings while cleaning up South Africa for 287 runs. Australia then came up with aesthetic batting performance to score 303/5. South Africa were eventually bundled out for 265 runs as Australia won the match by 245 runs to clinch the series.