The 1999/2000 series in Australia was a disastrous tour for the Indians. Led by Sachin Tendulkar, they lost all the three Tests without putting up much of a fight. India’s inability to cope with conditions abroad came to the fore again. Those were the days when Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and VVS Laxman had not yet established themselves completely in the Indian side. As such, India were once again heavily reliant of Tendulkar, who did have a good series with the bat again, but it could not inspire the team to perform to their ability.
Ist Test at Adelaide: Ponting-Waugh dominate
The early signs were positive for India as the pacers combined to have the Aussies tottering at 52 for 4 on the opening day. It was all Australia after that though as Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting combined to dismantle the Indian bowling. Australia lost their next wicket at 291 and that too through a run out when Ponting was dismissed for 125. It was a supremely counter-attacking innings during which he hit 15 boundaries and faced only 198 deliveries for his score.
Waugh, on the other hand, was at his usual combative best. He was dislodged only after he made 150, an innings that comprised of 17 fours. Shane Warne bludgeoned 86 to add to India’s woes as Australia notched up 441. India managed only 285 in their first innings with Tendulkar and Ganguly making half-centuries. Australia scored at a fast clip in the second innings and set India an improbable target of 396. India managed only 110 as Damien Fleming grabbed five wickets. This was the innings in which Tendulkar was given out lbw to a bouncer from Glenn McGrath.
2nd Test at Melbourne: Lee’s sensational debut
After the drubbing at Adelaide, India had an equally poor match at the MCG as well. The Aussies batted with great confidence and notched up 405. Opener Michael Slater made 91 while Ricky Ponting and Adam Gilchrist contributed half-centuries. India replied poorly again, in spite of a sublime century from Tendulkar. Brett Lee, making his debut, troubled the Indians exceedingly with his pace, scalping a five-for on debut. Akin to the first Test, Australia once again batted at a swift pace in the second innings. This time, they set India 376, and, once again, India faltered managing only 195. Sachin Tendulkar made another half century, but it wasn’t of much consequence. India’s Hrishikesh Kanitkar was the other debutant in the match,
3rd Test at Sydney: Langer’s turn to shine
For the first time in the series, India batted first, but it did not change their fortunes. They were rolled over for 150 with McGrath and Lee picking up nine wickets between themselves. Australia’s reply was a massive 552 for 5. Justin Langer came up with his best Test knock, compiling 223 of those runs with the help of 30 boundaries. Langer’s knock lasted for 355 balls. Ponting contributed an unbeaten 141. India found a hero at last in VVS Laxman, who played a magnificent knock of 167. The innings could not rescue India from a 3-0 whitewash, but it didgive them some reason to cheer, finally.
--By A Cricket Analyst