The Australian cricket team toured India from 6 October 2004 to 5 November 2004 for a four test series. The series featured matches played at Bangalore, Chennai, Nagpur and Mumbai. Australia won the series 2-1.
This was Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath's last tour of India. They came with the desire to end Australia's 35 year drought of winning a Test Match series in India. Before this series India had performed poorly in tours of Sri Lanka and the Netherlands, and in the ICC Champions Trophy.
Australia won the first Test played at Bangalore comprehensively. The Indian batting order collapsed twice and they didn't look at any point that they could have made a match out of it. Michael Clarke, playing his first ever Test match, scored 151 runs to take Australia to a commanding position. Harbhajan Singh took another 10 wicket haul (5-146 and 6-78) in the match. Anil Kumble took his 400th wicket. Clarke was awarded Man Of The Match.
Being 1-0 down in the series, India started the second Test match played between 14–18 October 2004 at Chennai on a positive note. They got rid of Australia in the first innings for a mere 235 runs. Earlier, Justin Langer (71) and Matthew Hayden (58) started the Australian innings with a bang. They contributed 136 runs for the opening wicket. When it looked as if Australia would dominate this Test as well, Anil Kumble struck consistently and produced a beautiful bowling spell in which he took 7 wickets for just 48 runs from his 17.3 overs. Australia's innings collapsed from 189-3 to 235 all out. In reply India scored 376 runs and took a commanding lead of 141 runs. Virender Sehwag scored a magnificent 155 runs, Mohammed Kaif on his comeback match scored 64 and was well supported by young Parthiv Patel (54). Shane Warne took 6 wickets for 125 runs. The top order of Australian innings again collapsed in the 2nd innings, but then Damien Martyn notched up a century (104) at the crucial time with the result being that the Australians had scored 369 runs in their second innings, setting a victory target of 229 runs for India to win. India had a good chance of winning the game, but rain on the final day prevented any chance of play, therefore, the match ended in a draw. Anil Kumble took 6 wickets for 133 runs and was awarded Man Of The Match.
The Third Test of the Series was played between 26–30 October at the Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground at Nagpur. Australia won the match and Series in four days. Australia posted 398 in their first innings, with Damien Martyn posting 114 runs with Michael Clarke making 91. In contrast, India played poorly in their first innings and none of their top order batsmen got going. The only batsman to make above 50 was Mohammed Kaif (55). Sachin Tendulkar, who returned from injury, made just 8 runs. India made 185 runs, 14 runs short of the follow-on. Australia rejected the follow-on and began their second innings, setting a target in excess of 500. But once again the Indians were bundled out for 200. None of the frontline batsman made a big score. Sehwag and Patel provided some hope but fell to the Australia's metronomic bowling. Australia won the third Test by 342 runs. Martyn was awarded Man of the Match. With this win, Australia won this Test series after 35 years of trying for success in India, a feat which has been termed the final frontier by Steve Waugh.
The fourth and final Test match was played between 3–7 November 2004 at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai. Having already lost the series, India made changes in the team. Patel, Akash Chopra, Ajit Agarkar and Yuvraj Singh were all dropped from the lineup. The first day of play was almost completely washed out by rain, with only 11 overs being bowled. India won the toss and elected to bat. The innings started on a bad note, losing 2 wickets on the first day itself. On the second day India was bowled out for their second-lowest score ever of 104 runs, with Rahul Dravid scoring the highest score in the innings of 31 runs. Jason Gillespie (4-29) was the main wicket taker for Australia. Australia's first innings also didn't last long, as they were bowled out on the same day for a score of 203 runs, with Martyn (55) top scoring. Murali Kartik (4-44) and Kumble (5-90) were the main wicket takers. 18 wickets fell in all on the second day of play. India made 205 runs in their second innings, with significant scores from V.V.S. Laxman (69) and Tendulkar (55). Michael Clarke (6-9) removed the tail order within 23 runs. Chasing 107 runs for victory, Australia lost wickets consistently throughout their second innings and were bowled out for 93 runs, giving India a victory by 13 runs. Harbhajan Singh (5-29) and Murali Kartik (3-32) took most of the wickets. Murali Kartik was named Man of the Match. This Test is one of the shortest Test matches ever played, lasting for only 2 complete days. The pitch prepared for the match had later come in for a lot of criticism by Ricky Ponting.
Damien Martyn was named Man of the Series.
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“Galileo, with an operaglass, discovered a more splendid series of celestial phenomena than anyone since.”
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