Jason Gillespie reveals how Australia worked a strategy to keep Tendulkar and Dravid quite in 2004 Test series
Tendulkar was out of the first two Tests owing to a tennis elbow and Dravid was also able to score only 167 runs from seven innings.
Updated - Jun 13, 2020 6:10 pm
The 2004 Test series away from home against India was a series to remember for Australia. The Kangaroos, led by Adam Gilchrist, registered their first Test series win on the Indian soil in 35 years as they clinched the four-match series 2-1. The Aussies clinched the series in Nagpur in the third Test before India grabbed a consolation win in the fourth and final Test at Mumbai.
One of the star performers of the series was Jason Gillespie, who scalped 20 wickets, the most by an Australian bowler in the series. Combining with Glenn McGrath and Michael Kasprowicz, the pace trio wreaked havoc on Indian batting force by plucking 43 wickets.
Reminiscing the iconic Test series and his impressive performance, Gillespie said that the experience of bowling in India from the 2001 tour helped the team create a few plans to keep the Indian batsmen at bay.
“As a bowling group, we sat down and worked out how we’re going to (make) impact for the team in Indian conditions,” Gillespie said during the show Homerun with AV hosted by Arun Venugopal on his YouTube channel.
“If we stick to bowling the Australian line and length, which is that fourth-stump line and encourage the Indian batsmen to hit through the offside – which is what we were trying to do in 2001 – we’re taking bowled and LBWs out of play. But we are also conscious that by attacking the stumps more, we were playing to the Indian batsmen’s strengths,” he added.
Gillespie revealed that Australia mapped out their strategy keeping in mind India’s strength of playing through the leg side. And the ploy worked as no other batsman apart from Virender Sehwag was able to make an impact with the bat. Sehwag was India’s leading run-scorer with 299 runs in the series. However, taking his 155 innings out of the scenario, the right-hander only amassed 144 in the rest seven innings.
Tendulkar was out of the first two Tests owing to a tennis elbow and Rahul Dravid was also able to score only 167 runs from seven innings.
Indian batsmen play really well through the leg side: Jason Gillespie
“A lot of Indian batsmen are very wristy and play really well through the leg side. So you think guys like Laxman, Dravid, Tendulkar and Sehwag when the ball is on the stumps, they can hit the ball anywhere from straight past the bowler to the square leg just by the use of their hands, very skilful players,” Gillespie said.
“We felt that if you put an extra fielder or two on the leg side in catching position and another defensive position on the fence, you encourage the Indian batsmen to run more between the wickets rather than get those easy boundaries. So we wanted to test their fitness and we just felt that if we kept charging in and attacking the stumps, eventually the Indian batters might miss one or two of those and we can get an LBW or a bowled, and that’s what happened,” added the pacer.