This Day, That Year: When Sourav Ganguly Played His Final Test Match
Today's date marks a significant event in the history of India's Test cricket as one of it's finest players Sourav Ganguly played his ultimate Test match on this day in 2008 in Nagpur. It incidentally was VVS Laxman's 100th Test match.
The Indian team gave a fitting farewell to the Bengal tiger as they beat Australia by 172 runs and also took away the four-match Border-Gavaskar Series 2-0.
India had won the toss and chose to bat first. Indian batsman did justice to captain's decision of batting first as they posted a total of 441. Sachin Tendulkar scored a century while Virender Sehwag, Laxman, Ganguly, and Dhoni scored half-centuries.
An anti-climactic end to Ganguly's career
In reply, Australia managed 355 with Simon Katich scoring a century. India gained a lead of 86 runs as they began their second innings. The openers started well but once they fell, the middle order collapsed. Ganguly who was playing his last innings had an anti-climatic end to his cricketing career as he was out for a golden duck off Jason Krejza's bowling. Team India was eventually bowled out for 295 setting the Aussies a target of 382.
This game see-sawed throughout. On the final day, Australia were chasing 382 for victory. However, in spite of some good batting by Matthew Hayden and others in the top-order, the target and the fifth-day pitch proved too much for the Australians as they bundled out for 209 and the hosts won the match by 172 runs.
Return of Ganguly: The Captain
What stood out in this match was to see the return of Ganguly, the captain for a brief period. In a heart-warming gesture, Dhoni, who was captaining the side for the first time as the full-time captain, offered Ganguly to lead the side. Initially, the southpaw refused, but when Dhoni asked for the second time he obliged. He handled the bowling changes and field placements. However, after three overs he found it difficult to focus, so handed it back to Dhoni saying it was his job.
Ironically, exactly on that very day eight years ago the Indian legend had begun his captaincy career.