Happy Birthday Sourav Ganguly: His glorious moments as captain
At a time when Indian cricket was marred with several controversies, a young Sourav Ganguly was given the charge to lead the team. The rest as you all know is history! Ganguly, also known as 'Dada', was the flag-bearer of India's golden era in the early 2000s. We take a look at the former Indian captain's famous moments as he turns 48.
The famous Eden Gardens Test against Australia laid the foundation of India's successful era. Having lost the series opener, India were yet again reeling in the Eden Test after Australia enforced a follow-on. However, the historic Rahul Dravid-VVS Laxman stand rescued India before propelling them to a miraculous victory. The Ganguly-led India defied all odds by winning the series 2-1 eventually.
The astonishing sight of Ganguly's shirtless celebration at the Lord's balcony is still afresh. Team India made a strong statement by beating England in their own backyard in a high-voltage NatWest Trophy final. Ganguly himself led from the front in the 326-run chase. The likes of Yuvraj Singh and Mohammad Kaif eventually won the game for India towards the end.
India's only World Cup campaign under Ganguly was memorable for several reasons. Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar was in the form of his life, while Zaheer Khan and Ashish Nehra braced the bowling line-up pretty well. Tendulkar's 98 against Pakistan was the tournament's highlight, while Ganguly himself made merry with the bat throughout. Although India lost the final to Australians, the ecstatic journey touched millions.
Ganguly's side gave the Australians a run for the money during the 2003-04 tour Down Under. The former skipper slammed a blistering ton first up in the Gabba Test, which was drawn. Meanwhile, Rahul Dravid's class in the Adelaide Test sealed an awe-inspiring victory for India. The series was eventually shared, however, gaining a 1-0 lead in Australia was something to be proud of.
In 2004, India reached yet another landmark after registering their maiden series victory in Pakistan. They defeated the hosts 3-2 and 2-1 in the ODI and Test series respectively during the trip. Ganguly added yet another feather in the cap, having become the first Indian captain to achieve the milestone in Pakistan. India simply looked unstoppable overseas as Ganguly stamped his authority all around.