Sourav Ganguly turns 42 on Tuesday © AFP
The Prince of Kolkata has given priceless memories with his batting and leadership skills for India. Bharath Seervi looks at the top 10 innings from Sourav Ganguly.
1) 141 not out vs South Africa, Nairobi, October 13, 2000 – ODIs
It was the semi-final of ICC KnockOut cup in 2000 against South Africa. India, batting first, had a decent start. Sourav Ganguly held the crease firmly and had a partnership of 145 runs with Rahul Dravid for the second wicket. He reached 50 in 70 balls and his century (14th in ODIs) in 114 balls. He, the skipper, remained unbeaten till the end and took the team to 295 for six in 50 overs. He finished with 141 runs off 142 balls including 11 fours and six sixes. India won the match comfortably and moved to finals of the tournament. As per Wisden, this inning is listed as second best ODI inning by an Indian.
Result: India won by 95 runs.
2) 183 vs Sri Lanka, Taunton, May 26, 1999 – ODIs
India, in this ICC World Cup 1999, had lost their previous matches to South Africa and Zimbabwe. In this match against Sri Lanka, India was asked to bat first. To make the situation worst, opener Sadagoppan Ramesh was out in the first over of the match. What happened later became the history in cricket. Ganguly along with Dravid began to build the inning. Both of them batted and batted and completed a partnership of 300 runs between them – first in ODIs. Ganguly hammered the Lankan bowlers by hitting seven sixes and 17 fours to end up with 183 runs off 158 balls. India reached the then their highest total in ODIs – 373 for six in 50 overs and won the match with a huge margin. This innings of Ganguly finds the 25th spot in best 100 innings according to Wisden.
Result: India won by 157 runs.
3) 60 vs England, Lord’s, July 13, 2003 – ODIs
This occasion was the final of Natwest ODI tri-series between India, England and Sri Lanka at Lord’s. England scored 325 for five in 50 overs batting first and for India the task of chasing this mammoth target was never an easy task. Skipper Ganguly along with Sehwag tried their best to provide a good start to the chase. Ganguly smashed 60 runs off 43 balls with 10 fours and a six to set the tone for victory. India chased down the target with three balls to spare thanks to Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif. This brought India one of the greatest victories in the history.
Result: India won by one wicket.
4) 141 vs Pakistan, Adelaide, January 25, 2000 – ODIs
India chose to bat after winning the toss against Pakistan in the Carlton & United series. India had a good start but no big contributions from any of the top order players other than Ganguly. He shared 88-run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar for the first wicket and 87-run partnership with Dravid for the second wicket. Ganguly completed 5000 runs in his ODI career and reached his century off 118 balls. He was dismissed in the 49th over before scoring 141 runs off 144 balls with 12 fours and a six. Pakistan bowlers remained helpless against him.
Result: India won by 48 runs.
5) 82 vs Australia, Melbourne, January 9, 2004 – ODIs
It was the first match of the VB Series, 2004 at Melbourne. Australia, batting first, scored 288. India started the chase positively with a century stand between the openers (Sehwag and Tendulkar). Skipper Ganguly batted at No 3. He came in the 19th over and started his inning gradually. After Tendulkar’s wicket in the 26th over there was no support from the other end. Ganguly kept hold of the one end and marched India to a victory. He was out for 82 runs off 83 balls in the 46th over. India was all out in 49 overs and lost the match with a small margin. Skipper’s inning went in vain.
Result: India lost by 18 runs.
6) 90 vs England, Lord’s, September 5, 2004 – ODIs
In this third ODI at Lord’s, India chose to bat against England. The top order of Indian batting failed as three batsmen fell at score of 48 runs in the 14th over. It was the captain Ganguly struggling in the middle. He got support from Dravid. They both added 93 runs for the fourth wicket and recovered the team. Ganguly completed his half-century and managed to score 90 runs before getting out in the 37th over. He faced 119 balls for the inning that contained five fours and three sixes. India was all out for 204 and won the match.
Result: India won by 23 runs.
7) 144 vs Australia, Brisbane, December 7, 2003 – Tests
This was the first Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy of 2003/04 at Brisbane. Australia scored 323 runs in their first inning. In reply, the top order batsmen did not contribute much and wickets lost. The captain Ganguly along with VVS Laxman tried to rebuild the innings. Ganguly scored his maiden Test century in Australia and got a lead for India before he was dismissed for 144. India scored 409 in the innings and the match was drawn. Ganguly was awarded the Man of the Match. This captain’s innings brought a spark to the series for Indian batsmen as there were huge centuries scored by the other Indian batsmen in the series.
Result: Match drawn.
8) 239 vs Pakistan, Bangalore, December 8 & 9, 2007 – Tests
Ganguly had scored 14 Test centuries but not a single double century before this match. The opposition was Pakistan at Bangalore and India were batting first. Very soon before the lunch Indian scoreboard read four for 61 in the 23rd over. Ganguly with Yuvraj began to recover the team. India was strong by the end of the Day One as they had managed to score 365 for five with Ganguly still unbeaten on 125. Ganguly continued his batting the next day and formed a 178 run partnership with Irfan Pathan and brought up his maiden double century in Test cricket. He batted for 518 minutes and 361 balls — being his best in Test career — putting the ball to boundary rope 30 times and hitting two sixes. This was Ganguly’s 99th Test match as well.
Result: Match drawn.
9) 131 vs England, Lord’s, June 22, 1996 – Tests
Ganguly made his debut along with Dravid at second Test of the series against England at Lord’s. India was to give a reply to England’s first inning total of 344 but the openers fell quickly. Then came to crease was Ganguly at No 3 in his debut Test innings. The expectations weren’t really high but he grabbed the opportunity. He kept watching batsmen go back to pavilion from the other end before forming a 94-run partnership with Dravid who came to bat at No 7 position. Ganguly at age of 23, showed all his classical off side shots and became the first Indian to score a century on debut at Lord’s. The match ended as a draw. He scored another 15 centuries later in his career and India never lost in any of those!
Result: Match drawn.
10) 75 not out vs West Indies, Port of Spain, April 21 & 22, 2002 – Tests
In this second Test of the series at Port of Spain, India were leading by 94 runs at the end of first innings. The stage was set to put on a good total in the 2nd inning to seal a victory on the Caribbean soil. But the top four batsmen in the batting order were dismissed for just 56 runs and this brought Indian under pressure. But skipper Ganguly along with Laxman gave a strong reply to the West Indian bowlers. They both shared a partnership of 149 runs for the 5th wicket and the lead approached 300. Then again the wickets kept falling and India was all out for 218 runs. Ganguly remained not out till the end scoring 75 runs in 227 balls and 290 minutes.India won the match by a close margin.
Result: India won by 37 runs.
Other notable innings:
85 vs Zimbabwe, Bulawayo, June 27, 2001 — ODIs
153 not out vs New Zealand, Gwalior, November 11, 1999 — ODIs
98 not out vs Sri Lanka, Kandy, August 25, 2001 — Tests (fourth innings)
101 not out vs New Zealand, January 6, 1999 — Tests
100 vs Australia, Melbourne, January 12, 2000 — ODIs
(Bharath Seervi is a cricket statistician who is obsessed with digging numbers, facts and records related to the game. An active member of Society of Cricket Statisticians of India, he blogs at www.cricketseervistats.blogspot.com. He can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SeerviBharath and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/SeerviCricket)