Highest Run Chase in Test by India

When it comes to nerveless fourth innings chases, India has pulled off some memorable heists over the years against top opponents. From Gavaskar to Kohli, Indian batsmen have conquered imposing run targets with belief and bravado.

In this article, we revisit some of the highest run chases in test history orchestrated by the Indian cricket team over the decades. Get ready to relive the batting exploits that defined generations of Fabulous Indian fourth innings chasers.

1. India (406) vs West Indies, Port of Spain, 1976

The highest fourth innings chase by India in a test match came against a formidable West Indies side at Port of Spain in 1976.

Responding to West Indies’ massive first innings score of 503/8 declared powered by a breathtaking 235 from the great Viv Richards, India found themselves struggling early at 50/3.

But then a record 246-run stand between Gundappa Vishwanath (112) and the ingenious Sunil Gavaskar (102*) steadied the ship wonderfully. Eknath Solkar also chipped in with a vital fifty as India reached 406/4, scripting the highest successful run chase in test history at the time.

This unbelievable victory highlighted India’s fighting spirit and foreshadowed the emergence of world-class batsmen through the 1970s-80s. Chasing over 400 in the Caribbeans against Holding, Roberts, Garner was a monumental achievement.

Also Check: Highest Run Chase in Test by West Indies

2. India (379/4) vs England, Oval, 1979

Another memorable fourth innings chase came during India’s 1979 tour of England at the Oval. England had scored 305 in their first innings.

In response, India ended with a mammoth 633/5 driven by two sublime double hundreds from Sunil Gavaskar (221) and captain Gundappa Viswanath (222).

With an enormous lead of 334 runs, Indian spinners Bedi, Chandra, Venkat bowled out England for just 180 in the third innings. This left India needing only 379 runs to win which Gavaskar (57) and Chetan Chauhan (79) achieved with supreme comfort.

Chasing nearly 400 runs in the fourth innings on English soil highlighted a coming of age for India’s batting prowess. The foundation was being laid for future Indian greats.

3. India (387/4) vs England, Chennai, 2008

One of India’s most memorable test victories came at Chennai in 2008 when they chased a mammoth target of 387 set by England in the fourth innings, the third highest successful chase by any team.

After conceding a huge first innings lead of 241 runs, India began the record chase solidly before losing early wickets including Dravid and Tendulkar.

But the young turks Virender Sehwag with 83 runs and Yuvraj Singh (85) counterattacked superbly in a blistering partnership. Eventually Sachin Tendulkar (103*) steered the side home with calmness for a thrilling 4-wicket win with just over half an hour remaining!

The Chennai run chase resonates as one of India’s finest batting performances in tests.

Also Check: Highest Run Chase in Test by England

4. Highest Run Chase In Test By India Against Australia At Adelaide In 2003

Another famous Indian fourth innings chase came against old rivals Australia in 2003 at Adelaide.

Responding to Australia’s massive 1st innings 558 built around Ponting’s 242, India found themselves staring at a mammoth deficit of 196 runs after being bundled out for 238 in their first innings.

Australia did not enforce the follow-on, allowing India to bat again. Sehwag blasted an electric 195 while Rahul Dravid made a sublime 233 to setup an epic chase of 333 runs which India achieved thanks to Laxman’s polished half-century.

The resilience shown by the Indians highlighted a willingness to fight rather than surrender, the hallmarks of a champion side.

5. Highest Run Chase In Test By India (276/5) vs Against England At Eden Gardens In 1984

England’s first innings total of 328 seemed below par at Eden Gardens in 1984. But India squandered a solid start to fold for just 165 in response. Suddenly England held the aces.

When England declared their 2nd innings at 235/3, India were left needing 276 runs to win on a crumbling fourth day Kolkata wicket against the likes of Willis and Botham – a Herculean task!

But India had a special player in its ranks called Gavaskar. Despite losing partners, Gavaskar held firm scoring an unbeaten 120 while Kapil Dev smashed an audacious 50-ball 55 at the end to seal a famous 5-wicket win as India scaled 276/5.

Gavaskar’s determination and Kapil’s belligerence enabled India to achieve the impossible.

Landmark Fourth Innings Chases

Besides the highest run chases listed above, India has produced several other landmark fourth innings performances:

  • Spin wizard BS Chandrasekhar’s magical 6/52 helped India bowl out West Indies for just 97 chasing 124 at the Oval in 1971.
  • India chased down 339/8 in the 1983 Delhi test against Pakistan thanks to a classic 121 from Mohinder Amarnath.
  • India conquered England’s trio of lethal pacers – Willis, Botham and Dilley – while chasing down 190 at Lord’s in 1986 with Kapil Dev leading the chase.
  • Mohammed Azharuddin scored an artistic 122* at Eden Gardens in 1993 enabling India to chase 216 runs and defeat South Africa.

So India has managed to chase tricky targets successfully on all kinds of challenging surfaces highlighting their batsmen’s versatility.

Greatest Indian Fourth Innings Batters

Now let’s look at some of the batting stalwarts whose many memorable fourth innings performances made India a competitive run chasing test team:

Sunil Gavaskar

Arguably India’s greatest opener, Gavaskar played several match-winning fourth innings knocks like the classic 221 vs England at the Oval in 1979. Safe as a house behind aCALMness personified, he was India’s guiding light while navigating tricky chases.

GR Viswanath

An artist with the bat, Vishwanath dazzled in the fourth innings too with 13 centuries. His 97 at Kotla chasing 339 against West Indies in 1979 almost took India over the line single-handedly.

Sachin Tendulkar

Tendulkar has often been India’s last man standing, taking India home in the fourth innings through gems like the 103* at Chennai in 2008 while chasing 387 against England. A batting maestro.

Rahul Dravid

‘The Wall’ was India’s crisis man in the fourth innings, facing the best bowlers without flinching. His 180 while chasing a mammoth 550 against Pakistan at Kolkata in 2005 was a work of art.

VVS Laxman

Laxman unveiled his magical wrists to engineer heists in the fourth innings through pivotal knocks like the 96 against South Africa at Durban in 2010 to successfully chase 303. Batting poetry.

So these were some of India’s fourth innings titans who shouldered the chase burden with aplomb against top class attacks. Their batting feats turned many lost causes into memorable triumphs.

Evolution of India’s Fourth Innings Batting Approach

Looking back, India’s test run chasing approach has evolved over the decades:

  • Cautious approachprevailed through the 1960s-70s focused on survival.
  • 1980s saw occasional counterattacks mixed with steady accumulation by batting masters like Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, Amarnath.
  • Tendulkar’s arrival in 1990s brought more flair but India still mostly conservative chasing targets.
  • 2000s saw Dravid, Laxman, Sehwag take aggressive batting approach while chasing 300+ targets.
  • 2010 onwards, Kohli, Pujara, Pant adopted a more modern dynamic approach of all-out attack when required irrespective of ball and pitch conditions.

So from being diffident chase starters, India has transformed into a feisty run chasing test outfit in the modern era.

Importance of Opening Stands For India

Like other teams, Indian openers providing good starts has been crucial to fourth innings chases. Some stats:

  • Sehwag-Gambhir average 52.5 per stand, highest for India. 4 stands over 200 runs.
  • Gavaskar-Chauhan average 49.5 with 3 century stands
  • Vijay-Pujara averaged 42.7 per stand with 4 century stands
  • Sidhu-Manjrekar averaged 42.5 at a brisk pace in late 1990s

So whether Sehwag-Gambhir or Gavaskar-Chauhan, Indian openers have laid the platform for subsequent batsmen to build match-winning chases upon. Seeing off the new ball remains pivotal.

Strong Lower Middle Order Accelerators

India has been blessed with many batting all-rounders over the years who could accelerate the scoring rate when chasing. Some popular names:

  • Kapil Dev – Battered tiring bowlers with an array of strokes to rapidly boost run rate.
  • Ravi Shastri – His combative approach perfect for upping the ante at seven.
  • Mohammad Azharuddin – Lit up chases with his wristy strokeplay.
  • Yuvraj Singh – In his prime, his flamboyant style was ideal for attacking bowlers.
  • Rishabh Pant – Fearless hitting ability to clear ropes makes him dangerous.

So these match-winners batted with intent and aggression to run down totals when the situation demanded.

Famous Rear Guard Stands While Chasing

India has produced many tenacious batsmen adept at stonewalling for survival, allowing the strokemakers to play freely at the other end during chases.

Some Rear guard warriors:

  • Rahul Dravid – The Wall stood tall for India during the 2000s with some epic match-saving fourth innings vigils against the likes of McGrath, Akram, Muralitharan, Pollock.
  • Hanumant Singh – Dour Rajasthan batsman spent nearly 10 hours during his 104 chasing 343 against England at Lord’s in 1952.
  • Vijay Hazare – His dogged unbeaten 60 while chasing down 190 against West Indies at Adelaide during 1947-48 laid the template for rearguard battles.
  • Sunil Gavaskar – Though renowned for technical mastery, Gavaskar also had immense powers of concentration that he used to stonewall lethal attacks from Roberts, Holding, Garner enabling India to escape with draws.

So these warriors played pivotal roles during India’s famous chase test match escapes over the decades. Tough as nails is an apt idiom for their rear guard grit.

The Draw Specialists Until 2000s

Until the 2000s, Indian batsmen earned a reputation of being solid players of the draw, adept at batting out time rather than going for risky match-winning targets:

  • Delhi 1948-49 tour saw 4 consecutive draw tests as Indian batsmen occupied crease to secure stalemates.
  • 1967 England series had all 3 tests end in high scoring draws as Indian batsmen Raman Subba Row, Farokh Engineer, Ajit Wadekar batted long periods.
  • At Lords in 1986, India escaped with a draw chasing 343 as Maninder Singh and Binny stonewalled.
  • 1997 South Africa tour saw Gandhi, Kambli play out 122 overs in Delhi to draw test match and series.

So while Indian batsmen always possessed artistry, they lacked the killer instinct in the fourth innings until the 2000s arrived and mindsets became bolder.

Captains Who Shaped India’s Fourth Innings Approach

India’s evolution into a feisty run chasing test team has also been influenced by inspirational leadership and tactical brilliance that its captains offered over the decades:

  • Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi – Encouraged batsmen to take the attack to the opposition after deflating series losses in the 1960s.
  • Sunil Gavaskar – Formed a world class batting unit through the 1970s that succeeded overseas too.
  • Kapil Dev – Brought in aggression and fearlessness making India competitive against West Indies pace battery.
  • Mohammed Azharuddin – Built a champion outfit that started registering fourth innings chases regularly in the 1990s.
  • Sourav Ganguly – Backed young talent who transformed India into a world beating test team in the 2000s.
  • MS Dhoni – Instilled self-belief to back abilities while chasing 300+ targets against top teams.
  • Virat Kohli – Leading the modern fearless approach of winning at all costs irrespective of pitch and conditions.

So the leadership transition over the decades resulted in a fundamental shift from diffident and conservative to positive and attacking when it came to fourth innings chases.

Conclusion

In summary, India has successfully managed to transition from being meek fourth innings starters into a feisty formidable run chasing test outfit capable of hunting any target. Through each era, Indian batting has kept evolving from being technically solid to contemporary counter-attacking.

While the Caribbean calypso chasers mastered run chases with disdain, India has taken a less flashy but highly effective track. Building on the efforts of stalwarts like Gavaskar, Viswanath and proving to themselves with wins like the Oval 1979 and Chennai 2008, India has banished the ghosts of the past when chasing. Virat Kohli’s modern chargers reflect the new fearless attitude and self-confidence while gunning stiff fourth innings targets.

So it will be fascinating to see what the next decade holds as India continues its quest to be master conquerors in test cricket’s greatest art – the fourth innings run chase.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who scored India’s highest 4th innings score in a losing cause?

VVS Laxman remains eternal for his epic 281 against Australia at Eden Gardens in 2001 but India eventually lost that test match.

Which cricketer has the most 4th innings centuries for India?

Sachin Tendulkar tops for India with 6 fourth innings centuries in test matches underlining his batting pedigree.

Who is statistically India’s most successful 4th innings chaser?

Rahul Dravid who scored over 2300 runs in India’s 4th innings averaging 60 highlights his effectiveness under pressure.

Which opponent team conceded the most runs to India in lost chases?

West Indies conceded 406 runs to India’s successful chase at Trinidad in 1976 – the highest ever against them.

Who is regarded as India’s greatest 4th innings bowling hero?

Anil Kumble who bowled immense spells laced with magic has helped India defend lowest totals repeatedly.

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