Although India lost the first Test at Auckland against the Kiwis, they put up a spirited fight to run the Kiwis close. After having been bowled out for 202 in the first innings, they managed to come within 40 runs of chasing down New Zealand’s 407. Their score of 366 was among their top scores batting fourth, albeit in a losing cause. We take a look at a few more instances when India batted with gusto in the fourth innings, but yet ended up on the losing side.
India vs Australia: Adelaide 1992
India were chasing 372 to win this Test, but were dismissed for 333, the exact score Graham Gooch made against them a couple of years back. Indian skipper Mohammed Azharuddin made a stroke-filled 106 in the fourth innings, with 17 fours and was well supported by Manoj Prabhakar, who contributed 64, but the rest of the batting could not stand up to the challenge. Craig McDermott picked up five wickets for Australia. India actually began the Test on a high having dismissed Australia for 145 after putting them in, but were then themselves bowled out for 225. Australia batted superbly a second time round, making 451 courtesy tons from Mark Taylor and David Boon.
India vs Australia: Brisbane 1968
India were chasing an improbable 395 to win this time, and came rather close, getting bowled out for 355. The dashing ML Jaisimha was the star of the innings for India. He came up with a wonderful 101 with the aid of nine boundaries. Rusi Surti and Chandu Borde also came up with fighting 60s to keep India in the hunt. However, after being 310 for 5, India collapsed to 355 all out as the lower order faltered. Bob Cowper starred for the Aussies with four wickets.
India vs England: Manchester 1959
England set India a mammoth 548 to win in this Test. They were never going to get there, but the team did come up with a couple of brilliant individual performances. Abbas Ali Baig, batting at number three, made an impressive 112 with the aid of 12 fours. This was actually on debut. Polly Umrigar, the giant of India in those days, also came up with a brilliant knock; his 118 featuring 13 fours. Opener Nari Contractor also compiled a fighting fifty, but the Indian challenge eventually folded up for 376.
India vs England, Lord’s 2002
Like in the previous case, India were again asked to chase a 500- plus target, this time 568. India fell way short but responded with an impressive 397. Ajit Agarkar, who never lived up to potential with bat or ball, was the surprise hero with a sublime unbeaten 109, his only Test century. In an almost flawless effort, Agarkar hit 16 fours to help India redeem themselves to an extent. VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Wasim Jaffer also got half-centuries in the innings even as India went down in the Test by 170 runs.
--By A Cricket Analyst