Probably the most-awaited Test series, after The Ashes, is upon us yet again. India will be taking on Australia at the Adelaide Oval and it is a momentous occasion as this will be the first day-nighter contest between the two nations while playing in cricket whites. The pink-ball, the swing at twilight, the pace and bounce, various match-ups aside, these two cricketing sides have a history filled with scorecards of some remarkable and memorable matches. The history adds to the beauty of a India vs Australia series along with the quality of the two teams.
Despite their poor record in Australia, Indians have been able to register some wins on Australian soil. We revisit all of them, because something worthy of learning could be gained from history.
First wins in 1977: On their third tour to Australia, Indians finally managed to register their first Test win, which came against Bob Simpson's side in 1977 at Melbourne. Before that, India had been thumped in Australia 4-0 in 1947/48 and 1967/68 respectively.
It was also an emphatic win for Indians who won by a margin of 222 runs. Led by Bishan Singh Bedi, India came into the Sydney Test after losing the first two Tests – at Brisbane by 16 runs and at Perth by two wickets respectively. In Melbourne, the redemption was to happen, the history was to be written.
The architect of this memorable win was Bhagwath Chandrasekhar who picked up 12 wickets in the game, two six-fors in each innings. Sunil Gavaskar who failed in the first innings, unable to even open his account, hit a match-winning 118 off 285 balls in the second innings.
Bedi and Chandrasekhar weaved the spin magic to bowl out Australia for a paltry 164 in the second innings to win the game by 222 runs, and registered their first victory on Australian soil.
In the next game at Sydney, Indians continued their excellent form and beat the hosts by an innings and two runs, levelling the five-match series 2-2.
Once again, the Indian spinners were at their best, bowling out Australia for just 131 in the first innings and then 263 in the second. A fine 79-run knock by Gundappa Viswanath in the middle order alongside small contributions from Gavaskar, Chetan Chauhan, Dilip Vengsarkar set up the win for India. Not to forget, Karsan Ghavri who scored a 64 batting at No 9.
India lost the fifth match at Adelaide by 47 runs and the series too.
Melbourne win in 1981: Four years later, India returned to Australia to play a three-match Test series. The first Test was a disappointment for the Sunil Gavaskar-led side as they went down to Aussies by an innings and four runs.
The second Test was a close draw and the visitors were eyeing a series draw at Melbourne. They succeeded.
It was an all-round performance by Team India, where Chetan Chauhan and Sunil Gavaskar were among runs and Kapil Dev struck a five-for in the second innings to bowl Aussies out for 83. Had Viswanath not scored the 114 in the first innings, Indians would have never been able to match up with the hosts in the match. He was a key element in that 59-run victory, only third win for the Indians in Australia, which saved the face as the series was tied 1-1.
Adelaide win in 2004: Indians had to wait a long time, a total of 23 years, to get back to winning ways Down Under. It happened in 2003 at Adelaide where India took the lead in the four-match series after the first game was drawn at Brisbane.
Led by Sourav Ganguly, Indians had looked good at Brisbane. At Adelaide, they were under the pump after Ricky Ponting struck a marvellous 242 in the first innings. Someone from the visitors' XI needed to do exactly that and Rahul Dravid raised his hand, scoring a brilliant 233. From there, Ajit Agarkar took the lead and ended up with a six-wicket haul, helping Indians bowl Aussies out for 196 in the second innings.
Dravid struck another fine fifty to help India chase down the target and take the lead in series. The image of Dravid celebrating after the winning run would immediately flash in eyes of Indian fans.
Perth win: This was a tour surrounded by many controversies, from Monkey Gate to umpiring errors. Indians lost the first two Tests against a strong Aussie outfit. After the second Test at Sydney, where Indians felt cheated by a few umpiring mistakes and the emergence of the controversy involving Andrew Symonds and Harbhajan Singh, there was a moment where everyone thought India would pull out of the tour.
However, the Indians stayed and Anil Kumble's leadership came into limelight, as he led the team to a historic win in Perth, a venue not known for being a happy-hunting ground for any team.
Batting first, Indians posted 330 in the first innings with two fifties coming from the bats of Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar.
India's young pacers – Irfan Pathan, RP Singh and Ishant Sharma – combined to push Aussies on back foot, sharing eight wickets between them as hosts were bowled out for only 212.
In second innings, courtesy of a VVX Laxman fifty, Indians managed to put 294 on the board, giving Aussies a difficult target of 412. The hosts could only manage 340, giving India their first taste of victory on that tour in Tests.
The historic series win in 2018/19: This happened not so long ago. The Virat Kohli-led India made history by becoming the first-ever Indian contingent to clinch a series in Australia when they beat hosts 2-1.
This was a series where Cheteshwar Pujara continued to make runs and there was no one stopping him, not even a dangerous Aussie pace attack.
He started off the series with a century in the first innings of first Test at Adelaide, making 123 off 246 balls. Indians posted just 250 on the board but the bowlers pulled things back for India by dismissing hosts for 235. Rahane and Pujara struck fifties in the second innings to take the total to 307 and give Aussies a hard target to chase.
Aussies tried but Bumrah and Co were too good for them as they bowled the hosts out for 291, winning the game by 31 runs and taking the lead.
Australia came back strongly in the second match, levelling the series at Perth
Indians regrouped, made some changes at the top and won the MCG Test by 31 runs again. Mayank Agarwal, playing in his first Test, scored a fifty and Pujara once again showed his class, to manufacture a 106 run-knock that came off 319 balls.
India put 443 in first innings and from there Aussies were only catching up.
They were bowled out for only 152 in the first innings, courtesy a fiery spell by a man who goes by the name of Jasprit Bumrah. Australians too bowled out India cheaply but the visitors still had a decent lead to play with.
Chasing a big total, hosts were bowled out for 261, losing the game by 31 runs and chance of winning the series was also gone.
The fourth Test was a draw, giving Indians their first series win in Australia.
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