“I nearly had a stroke,” recalls Bob Hawke.
October 10. 18:45
Greg Salmon | Editor
October 10, 2016 marks 12 years since Australia’s desecration of the Indian cricket team in Bangalore. Already going into the four-test tour as underdogs, having not won in India since 1969 and drawing their previous home series, Australia then lost captain Ricky Ponting to a fractured thumb. “It was inevitable with his catching technique,” says then-vice captain Adam Gilchrist. “I wore gloves but still avoided that upwards-crocodile crap. I was always ready for the call-up”. Gilchrist was indeed ready, as he led his side to a 217 run shellacking.
“That’s the Australian team I know and love,” says ex-Prime Minister Bob Hawke. “Full of piss and vinegar.” With the game evenly poised at 5-256 on the first day (not 256-5 you spastics), Adam Gilchrist joined debutant Michael Clarke to smack the Indian spinners everywhere. “We treated them like we treated 2nd grade spinners in NSW,” laughs Gilchrist. “Harbhajan who?” “Singh,” the off-spinner politely replied when he dismissed Gilchrist for 104.
Set 457 to win on the fourth day, the Indian top order capitulated. Hawke regularly replays the carnage on YouTube, thanks to user Robelinda2. “Sehwag got a shocker,” he chuckles. “But who didn’t when Billy Bowden umpired?” Gillespie then trapped Chopra in front, LBW for 5. “Fuckin’ plumb,” Hawke mumbles. What followed next is Gilchrist’s personal favourite. “The Prince of Calcutta took off for a quick single that wasn’t there. Kasper picked it up at mid-wicket, and lobbed in the return throw. I smashed the living shit out of the stumps. It was fuckin’ glorious”. Aside from his clever field placement, Gilchrist’s satisfaction mostly stems from the shit Ganguly tried to pull in the 2003 World Cup final.
Australia went on to take a 1-nil lead in the series. The celebrations that followed can only be described as ‘full ham’. “I nearly had a stroke,” recalls Hawke. “That was one of our greatest victories”. “The boys don’t remember much,” laughs Gilchrist. “Boof and I went full ham that night”.