India and Australia have had some epic Test battles in the past. VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid’s stunning partnership at Eden Gardens is one of those memories that will forever be etched in the minds of both sets of fans. There have been many others over the years as both teams, at least in recent times, have become the fiercest rivals on the field, and friends off it. The last time India visited the Australian shores, Virat Kohli and his men scripted history, albeit in the absence of Australia’s two best batsmen. Things are different this season as the two teams go head-to-head, beginning Thursday.
Australia understand, maybe more than any other team, the dangers that India pose. Steve Smith and David Warner are back. The latter, though, will not be part of the opening Test, ruled out due to injury.
India go into the series boasting a pace battery to match that of Australia. However, the team’s talisman and fierce leader Virat Kohli will return home after the Adelaide Test. Rohit Sharma too is unavailable, at least for the first two Tests. That leaves Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane in an unenviable position.
Here we look at how the results went when these two teams clashed in the previous 10 Test series:
1. India in Australia 2018-19 (IND won 2-1 – 4 Tests)
India made history, registering their first-ever Test series victory in Australia. The Indian batsmen, led by the brilliant Cheteshwar Pujara, were in top form. The top three spots in the run-getters list were occupied by Indians. Pujara leading the way with 521 runs, followed by Rishabh Pant (350) and Virat Kohli (282).
The Indian bowlers, led by Jasprit Bumrah, too came to the party. Bumrah shared the top spot in the wicket-takers list with Nathan Lyon with 21 scalps each. Mohammed Shami was second with 16 wickets, while Ishant Sharma took 11 wickets.
2. Australia in India 2016-17 (IND won 2-1 – 4 Tests)
Australia put down an early marker in the series, beating the hosts by a massive 333 runs in the first Test in Pune. India fought back brilliantly in Bengaluru to tie the series at 1-1. The third Test in Ranchi was a run fest and ended in a draw. In the final Test in Dharamsala, the Indian spinners weaved their magic to give India an eight-wicket victory and with it the series.
Spin twins Ravindra Jadeja and Ravichandran Ashwin wreaked havoc, taking 25 and 21 wickets respectively, while Pujara was once again the man for India with the bat.
3. India in Australia 2014-15 (AUS won 2-0 – 4 Tests)
Australia once again got off the blocks quickly, putting in dominant performances to outplay the visitors in the opening two Tests, to take a 2-0 series lead. India, however, didn’t cave in and showed fight in the next two matches, drawing both of them to bring some respectability.
Smith and Kohli were on a different level to others in the series. The Australian topped the charts, amassing 769 runs in the four-match series. Kohli wasn’t far behind, scoring a total of 692 runs with four centuries to his name.
4. Australia in India 2012-13 (IND 4-0 – 4 Tests)
In one of the most one-sided contests between these two sides, hosts India blanked the hapless visitors, dominating from start to finish. Murali Vijay impressed, topping the run-scoring charts with 430 runs. Pujara was again in the mix, finishing his behind teammate with 419 runs.
Captain MS Dhoni (326) was amongst the runs as well as the Indian batsmen dominated their Australian counterparts. While the batsmen made notable contributions, the real heroes of the series were once again the spin duo of Ashwin and Jadeja. Ashwin ended up with 29 wickets with Jadeja hot on his heels with 24 dismissals.
5. India in Australia 2011-12 (AUS 4-0 – 4 Tests)
A rampant Australian team, led by the enigmatic Michael Clarke, completely dominated the visiting Indians on home turf. The Indian batting was wanting throughout the series with Australian pacers running riot.
Ben Hilfenhaus was the star of the show, taking 27 wickets, followed closely by his pace partner Peter Siddle, who registered 23 dismissals. On the batting front, Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting were a class above the rest. Clarke led from the front with 626 runs, with an unbeaten triple century to his name. Ponting too was unstoppable, scoring a total of 544 runs that included a double hundred.
6. Australia in India 2010-11 (IND 2-0 – 2 Tests)
The two-match series was dominated by one person — Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. The Master Blaster took centre stage and pummelled the Australian attack into submission. Tendulkar amassed 403 runs in four innings, ending up with an average of 134.33. The next batsman in the series was Shane Watson, well behind Tendulkar with 271 runs.
Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh were the standouts with the ball. While the left-arm pacer took 12 wickets, Harbhajan ended the series with 11 scalps to his name.
7. Australia in India 2008 (IND 2-0 – 4 Tests)
Australia came knocking on Indian shores with the likes of Ponting, Matthew Hayden and Simon Katich in tow. However, two men from Delhi decided to grab the bull by the horns and make their mark. Gautam Gambhir and Ishant Sharma, and Harbhajan Singh as well, were the standouts in a series that India dominated.
Gambhir was the top run-getter with 463 runs, ahead of Sachin Tendulkar (396) and Michael Hussey (394). Indians dominated the wicket-takers list with Ishant and Harbhajan taking 15 wickets each. Amit Mishra too was just as impressive with 14 dismissals to his name.
8. India in Australia 2007-08 (AUS 2-1 – 4 Tests)
A series marred by the “Monkeygate” scandal, where umpiring errors and accusations of racism grabbed the headlines instead of the action on the field. There were impressive performances all around, especially from two Indian players — Tendulkar and Anil Kumble.
Tendulkar was the top run-getter in the series with 493 runs at an average of 70.42. Hayden (410) and Andrew Symonds (410) led Australia’s charge with the bat. Brett Lee was the star with the ball, taking 24 wickets ahead of Kumble who ended with 20 dismissals.
9. Australia in India 2004-05 (AUS 2-1 – 4 Tests)
Australia came to India and not for the first time, started with a big win in the first Test. India fought back to draw the second but were given an even bigger drubbing in the third Test as Australia clinched the series with a game to spare. India edged the final match to get on the board.
Kumble and Harbhajan did their best to keep India in the contest, topping the wicket-taking charts with 27 and 21 dismissals, respectively. The Indian batsmen, barring Virender Sehwag, were just dismal. Damien Martyn (444) was the top run-getter for Australia, followed by Clarke (400).
10. India in Australia 2003-04 (Drawn 1-1 – 4 Tests)
In one of the rare moments in the rivalry between the two teams in recent history, the series ended in a 1-1 draw. Ponting (706) and Dravid (619) were the two stars with the bat.
Kumble was head and shoulders above the rest with the ball in hand, ending the series with 24 wickets. Ajit Agarkar was the next best with 16 wickets while Stuart MacGill came in third with 14.
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