Australia is a difficult place for overseas teams to get success. The tough conditions, partisan crowds and a team who are ruthless in maintaining a great record at home make the task for achieving victory a tough one. India is no exception, having never won a Test series there. However, in the last couple of seasons, the Indian cricket team has achieved success in ways that have led to the Australian empire crumbling. In the last 15 years, India has won 12 games across all formats Down Under, the third-most behind South Africa, England and surprisingly Sri Lanka.
India has a golden chance to become only the second team after South Africa to win a series in all formats in Australia. Ever since 1947, the Land of Oz has been the place for plenty of memorable moments in Indian cricket. Here is a list
1.) Vijay Hazare’s twin centuries in Adelaide 1947/48
India had officially entered the Test cricket club in 1932. Apart from Mohammad Nissar’s five-wicket haul in Lord’s in their inaugural Test, there was nothing much for India to cheer. In 1947, India had their moment of glory thanks to Vijay Hazare. Adelaide was the backyard of Sir Don Bradman, the greatest batsman ever and in this match, The Don blasted 201 and with centuries from Lindsay Hassett (198) and Sid Barnes (112) helped Australia to 674. In response, India were all out for 381 with Hazare (116) and Dattu Phadkar (123) hitting tons. Asked to follow-on, Hazare etched his name in the history books by blasting 145 and becoming the first Indian to hit two centuries in a Test match. This feat would be repeated 67 years later by Virat Kohli, incidentally at the same ground. Although India lost the match, Hazare had put India’s batting on the world map.
2.) India win first Test in Australia, almost win series
Hazare’s twin centuries in Adelaide had put India on the world map but India had to wait for 30 years to register their first-ever win Down Under. In 1977/78, India not only broke the jinx in style but they almost came close to registering an audacious series win. The series is considered a classic and every Test was tense. Before the series, Australia’s team was shattered by defections from key players to the Kerry Packer series. The desperation was such that they had to get back 41-year-old Bob Simpson. In the first Test in Brisbane, India fell 16 runs short in their pursuit of 340. In the second Test in Perth, Australia won by two wickets as they chased down a record 342. In Melbourne, Bhagwath Chandrasekhar picked 6/52 in both innings to give India their first-ever win. In dramatic style, India equalised in grand style with an innings win in Sydney. In the final Test in Adelaide, chasing 493, Mohinder Amarnath, Gundappa Viswanath, Dilip Vengsarkar and Syed Kirmani hit 50s as India reached 445 but fell short. The series demonstrated India’s capability to perform on the world stage. This remains the only time India won two Tests in a series in Australia.
3.) Champions of the World again
The 80s were a magnificent time for Indian cricket. Kapil Dev’s side had given their fans a billion reasons to cheer by defeating the almighty West Indies and winning the 1983 World Cup. In Australia, they played the World Championship of Cricket, another mega-tournament which would today be considered as the Champions Trophy. India started their campaign on a high with a win over Pakistan and thrashed England by 86 runs in Sydney. With a win over Australia in the league stages, India entered the semi-final against New Zealand where they won by seven wickets. In the final in Melbourne, they met Pakistan again and restricted them to 176/9, with Kapil taking 3/23 and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan taking another three wickets. In response, Ravi Shastri and Kris Srikkanth’s fifties gave India a thumping eight-wicket win, reaffirming their supremacy in World Cricket.
4.) CB Series glory under MS Dhoni
Be it Tests or ODIs, India’s record in Australia is woeful. From 1991 to 2004, India won just one ODI against Australia. In 2008, on the back of an acrimonious Test series that saw allegations of racism and the threat to boycott a tour, India needed a spark in their cricket. In the CB tri-series, India started off well with a win over Australia in Melbourne but stumbled as the tournament progressed. They entered the final with wins over Sri Lanka and they encountered an Australian side whose confidence had taken a hit after a surprise loss to Sri Lanka. In the first final in Sydney, Sachin Tendulkar scored his first ODI ton Down Under as India clinched the first game. In the second game in Brisbane, their glory was sealed as they won by nine runs as India won a tri-series in Australia for the first time.
5.) Achieving a whitewash
In 2016, India had lost the ODI series 1-4 against a weak Australia side. However, few realized that a win in the last ODI would propel India on course for a whitewash. Manish Pandey’s century helped India chase down 330 in the Sydney game and in the Twenty20 series, India had gained momentum. Virat Kohli blasted 90, 59 and 50 in the three games and stayed unbeaten. His average of 199 was the key factor in each win. In the final game in Sydney, Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina trumped Shane Watson’s century as India chased down 198 to become the first team to whitewash Australia at home in any format. With so many good memories, India has the capability to add another glorious chapter in 2018/19 to their Australian Odyssey.