India vs. West Indies, Madras, 1975
Gundappa Viswanath's daredevilry, which mesmerised the Chepauk full house, was a bold rescue act, which romantics swear would rarely be bettered. At Eden Gardens, in the third Test, his 139 in the second innings was the catalyst to India winning their first match and keeping the five-Test series alive. Chepauk offered a slow, turning pitch in the fourth Test. Andy Roberts, however, was menacingly fast and precise, extracting extra bounce and having Indian hearts skip in fear. Viswanath came in at 24 for 2 and watched wickets tumble. At 117 for 8, it seemed all over for India. But Viswanath and Bishan Bedi remained resolute. Viswanath dished out a range of artistic strokes - square drives, straight drives, on drives and flicks. The 52-run partnership for the ninth wicket, during which Bedi faced only 23 balls, helped India to 190.
Viswanath was undefeated on 97 and went back laughing. Roberts, who took 7 for 64, went back brooding. Erapalli Prasanna and Bedi then restricted West Indies' first-innings lead to only two runs. Viswanath was among the runs in India's second innings as well, his 93-run stand for the sixth wicket with Anshuman Gaekwad set West Indies a target of 255. Bhagwath Chandrasekhar burst through the defences of Gordon Greenidge with a fast legbreak. Farokh Engineer pouched Viv Richards brilliantly. Lloyd leapt out against Prasanna and was duly stumped. Alvin Kallicharan resisted with a fifty, but India won an hour into lunch to level the series after being 2-0 down.
By Nagraj Gollapudi
India vs. Australia, Melbourne, 1981
Before Kolkata 2001, there was Melbourne 1981. India bowled out for 237, three frontline bowlers injured, and in store, endless suffering in one of the most unforgiving settings in Test cricket: Australia on top at MCG. Australia went on to take an 182-run lead, which should have been enough to shut India out, but there was some rare pluck shown until then. Shivlal Yadav batted with a broken toe to see Gundappa Vishwanath to a hundred, then bowled 32 overs with painkiller injections in every session.
Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan then - remember the altercation with Dennis Lillee? - led a batting resurgence to set Australia 143 in the fourth innings. From the moment Greg Chappell was bowled to a filthy long hop from Karsan Ghavri in the dying moments of day four, India believed they were destined to win. The pitch, slow and uneven by now, reminded them of home, which is another reason for this irresistible belief. With Australia 24 for 3 at the start of the final day, the injured Kapil Dev came back to bowl unchanged for 16.4 overs, straight and into the pitch, taking five wickets to bowl India to a 59-run win.
By Sidharth Monga
India vs. England, Lord's, 1986
India had been playing Tests at Lord's, the home of cricket, since their arrival on the Test stage in 1932. But of their ten encounters previous to this one in 1986, eight had ended in defeat and the other two had been drawn. Three years ago, Kapil Dev and his men had shocked the world by lifting the World Cup at Lord's but Test success at the game's most hallowed venue remained elusive.
David Gower's team had an unsettled air about it as the series began with his captaincy facing questions. An assured hundred from Graham Gooch, who would score a triple century at the same venue against India four years later, was the bright spot in an otherwise insipid first innings batting effort. Derek Pringle made a combative 63 but as many as six English batsmen failed to cross double figures as they folded up for 294. India's bowling attack was led by the sprightly Chetan Sharma who secured a place on the honours board with a five wicket haul with Roger Binny picking up a further three. India's riposte with the bat was led by the man who would come to be known as the "Lord of Lord's". Dilip Vengsarkar had made hundreds in his previous two visits to the venue and constructed another masterpiece here. There was little support for Vengsarkar, who stroked 16 fours in his vigil and remained not out as India folded up for 341.
A lead of 47 was by no means substantial but the all-round quality of India's bowling attack decisively shifted the game in their favour. Kapil Dev was masterful with the new ball, picking up the first three wickets including the dangerous Gooch and captain Gower before the deficit was erased. The left arm spin of Maninder Singh flummoxed the lower order and India were left with just 134 to accomplish a famous win. Despite an stutter with the loss of openers Gavaskar and Srikanth, India weren't to be denied. It took them 42 overs to go past the target for the loss of five wickets and take the series lead. Lord's had been conquered and in a few days the second Test at Headingley was pocketed too as India clinched the series 2-0. It was the first time they had won more than one Test on a tour of England.
By Gaurav Kalra
India vs. South Africa, Ahmedabad, 1996
A victory which was vintage Indian cricket, but then again not. Ahmedabad was the first of three Tests on South Africa's first full tour of India. A dry, brown Motera wicket shrieked spin and promised hot-tin-roof-style batting and a low scorer and it was. A bowlers' Test as expected but the victory not earned through a familiar template - bat once, bat big and let the spinners on. Allan Donald, pace and variation through the air cut through the Indian first innings, but Sunil Joshi, Anil Kumble and Narendra Hirwani kept the first innings lead down to 21.
In the second, India's top five were gone for less than 100 and only a fifty-plus partnership between a debutant called VVS Laxman and Kumble, helped set 170 as a target. South Africa had two days to get it, if only they could hold off the spinners. It was when Ahmedabad, its brown crumbler and dry winter air, produced the surprise in fast bowler Javagal Srinath firing the ball in - speed, accuracy, in swinger, off-cutter - slicing and dicing. His 12 overs dismantled South Africa's batting and intention, two of the top three gone without a run on the board, only three batsmen getting to double figures. Srinath 6-21saw South Africa dismissed inside 39 overs with India winning by 64 runs. A runaway script, an unpredictable Test, an unexpected finish.
By Sharda Ugra