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India’s performance in Test Matches during the year 2000.
Poor by any Yardstick
By V. Kumar

India’s performance in Test matches during the year 2000 was extremely disappointing. In a span of 12 months, India played two ‘away’ Test matches and four on home grounds. Overall, India lost 3 test matches and won 2 and 1 ended in a draw.

The year started with yet another humiliating defeat at the hands of the ruthless Aussies. Steve Waugh’s amazing Aussies completed the 3-0 sweep of India’s tour of down-under, when they defeated India at Sydney. Indians were hoping to salvage some pride by winning the third test at Sydney, where the wicket has traditionally been favourable to spinners. But, the cunny Aussies changed the tactics and prepared a green-top. Soon, Indian batsmen were found wanting. The only consolation from this Test was a brilliant hundreds by opener V.V.S Laxman. The way Laxman counter attacked the thunderbolts of the McGrath and Co. was a treat to watch.

The next two Tests were played at Mumbai and Bangalore against the South-Africans. The hope of Indians recovery was shattered in the convincing win of the Proteas. Prior to the team selection of Mumbai Test, Sachin Tendulkar announced that he would quit the Test captaincy after the series. The reason was apparently the inclusion of Mohd. Azharuddin in Test team. By losing 2-0 from the South Africans, India also lost its first ever-home series defeat, since 1986-87. The Bangalore Test was Azhar’s 99th Test, where he scored a defiant century.

India’s next assignment was at the Bangabandhu Stadium in Dhaka, where it played the inaugural Test of Bangladesh. Before India won, Bangladesh also teased India with its spirited performance. Thanks to Aminul Islam’s 145, Bangladesh piled up 400 runs in the first innings. Eventually, in a rare virtuoso of fine bowling, India won the test by nine wickets. Thus India also won its first away Test win, since defeating Sri Lanka in 1992-93 at Colombo. The feat was achieved under the India’s new captain, Sourav Ganguly.

India played its next two Test matches against the touring Zimbabwe side at Delhi and Nagpur, respectively. In the Delhi Test match, Indian bowler’s lackluster performance allowed Zimbabwe to make 400 odd runs in first innings. But, later largely due to the man of match Srinath’s stupendous performance and captain Ganguly’s brave declaration, India won.

At Nagpur’s benign track, 6 batsmen from both team plundered centuries. The Test ended in a draw, where Andy Flower stood out as a wall between India’s win and Zimbabwe’s loss. While India found a promising young opener in the form of ShivSundar Das, Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were also at their best.

As a whole, India’s performance was uninspiring and dull. Even the lowly rated teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe gave a run to their money.