The Indian cricket team of the early 90s were ‘Tigers at Home and Lambs Abroad’. Nowhere was this more illustrated during their tour of Australia. IN the 1991/92 season, India were in Australia for over four months and they played a tri-series involving the West Indies and Australia, the Benson and Hedges World Cup and a five-Test series. India failed to make any impact in the tri-series and in the World Cup apart from some moments of individual brilliance. In the five-Test series, India lost three out of the first four Tests but the Test match in Sydney witnessed a draw with Ravi Shastri scoring a double century and Sachin Tendulkar responding with 148.
The fifth and final Test was played in Perth. In those days, the pitch at the WACA was a big threat for the batsman. The springboard like extra bounce and zip off the wicket made the Perth track very intimidating for batsmen. However, the twist on the Perth wicket was if a batsman settled in, he would be able to score runs.
Australia notched up 346 with David Boon hitting a magnificent 107. With India having struggled with the bat throughout the tour, the WACA wicket was not going to make things easier. All the batsman struggled, with the exception of one. His strokeplay and audacity that day signaled the arrival of the greatest player that would dominate cricket for two decades.
Taking on strong and tall pace bowlers like Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes and Mike Whitney, Sachin Tendulkar used the conditions in Perth to his advantage as he unfurled a wide array of strokes that dazzled everybody who was present in Perth. Using the cut shot, pull and the straight drive to great perfection, Sachin Tendulkar smashed 114 which included 16 boundaries. The next best score was Kiran More’s 43 at No.10 and it was his 81-run stand with More that helped India achieve some respectability.
India conceded a lead of 74 and Australia piled on the agony, with Dean Jones smashing 150 and Tom Moody responding with 101. Australia declared on 367/6 and set India an impossible target of 442. The second innings saw no heroics as India stumbled to 141 all out to lose by 300 runs with Whitney taking 7/27 and 11 wickets in the whole match.
Although India lost the series 0-4 and ended their Australia tour on a sorry note, it gave them the legend of Sachin Tendulkar and he would proceed to change the face of cricket forever. The starting point of Tendulkar’s legend began at the WACA on that hot February day of 1992.