One of India’s finest ‘big-match player’ Gautam Gambhir has decided to hang his boots. The opening batsman was once an essential cog of India’s team for all formats and during his tenure, India enjoyed overwhelming success especially in white-ball cricket.
This was probably Gambhir’s most iconic performance in red-ball cricket. With clouds of defeat hovering above his head and two and half days to bat, the Indian cricketer produced one of the best rearguard innings in Tests.
He batted for a whopping 643 minutes and scored 137 runs to earn India a draw. On day three, India was trailing by more than 300 runs and was asked to follow-on. However, Gambhir batted for five sessions keeping the Kiwi bowlers at bay. And by the time he was out, India had batted for 160 overs and had even secured a lead.
This was an innings that paved way for Gambhir’s rise as the number one batsman in ICC’s Test batting rankings.
On the night of the inaugural World T20 final in 2007, Misbah-Ul-Haq was majestic, Irfan Pathan was terrific and MS Dhoni brilliant with his decisions but amidst all this drama, Gambhir’s effort was by no means less than Herculean.
India’s famed batting order collapsed in the finals against Pakistan but the left-hand batsman kept one end strong and pushed India to a respectable total.
India scored 157 runs out of which, 75 came from Gambhir’s bat. Interestingly except for Rohit Sharma, no other batsman scored more than 15 runs.
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Cometh the hour, cometh the man! This was legendary stuff.
With the superstar Sehwag and master blaster Sachin back in pavilion very early, Gambhir was facing Murali and Co. in the finals of the world cup 2011 with a massive target to chase.
But the Indian cricketer responded in style. In inhaled pressure, exhaled calmness and brought India back in the game. He tagged with young Virat Kohli to arrest the damage and then laid the foundation of India’s most famous win in the 21st century with MS Dhoni.
However, Gambhir was out for 97 runs and a stunning innings was over-shadowed by Dhoni’s masterclass.