Millennium Post

12th-time Lucky

India became the first Asian side to beat Australia in their own backyard following the drawn Test in Sydney – a breakthrough that had eluded all previous Indian touring teams for 71 years

With a historic series win at Sydney, the Indian team has tamed the Australians in a Test series in their own backyard for the first time in history. Even though Australia missed the services of two of its best batsmen – Steve Smith and David Warner – the Indians were clinical in every aspect of the game, with minor hiccups only in the second test. Kohli & Co. have now achieved a feat that no other Asian team has matched before. Previously, India had travelled Down Under on 11 instances – but this 12th time proved to be the luckiest!

Five Test Series (1947-48)

This was the first overseas tour for the cricket team of Independent India – led by Lala Amarnath. Even though there were a few impressive individual performances from Vijay Hazare, Dattu Phadkar and Vinoo Mankad, the Australians outclassed the Indians throughout the series – handing an innings defeat on three instances. The Oz would have whitewashed the series had rain not played its part – ending the second test in a draw. As expected, India was eventually handed a 4-0 defeat.

Four Test Series (1967-68)

Lead by M A K Pataudi, there was no significant difference in the result sheet of India's second attempt. In fact, India was whitewashed 4-0. Though the team was more resilient, the inability to convert starts into hundreds unlike their Aussie counterparts cost them the series. There was a visible difference in the quality of cricket played by both countries.

Five Test Series (1977-78)

By the time India toured Australia for the third time, Bishan Singh had taken charge of the team. India inched closer in the first and second test, but lost the battle in crunch situations, eventually losing the matches by 16 runs and 2 wickets respectively. Riding on Sunil Gavaskar's sublime form, who notched three consecutive hundreds, India staged a dramatic comeback to level the series 2-2, before losing the decider by 47 runs.

Three Test Series (1980-81)

Yet again, India was down in the first test of the series. A double hundred from Greg Chappell handed India another innings defeat. Both teams shared spoils in the second test. India turned the tables to level the series 1-1 in the third test at Melbourne Cricket Ground. India showed immense grit and determination to pull off the first series victory, but defeating the Aussies in their own backyard was still a tough ask.

Three Test Series (1985-86)

By now, India had lifted the World Cup under Kapil Dev and proven to the world that they were champions in their own right. Australia held on its nerves to pull a draw in the third test which was dictated by the Indians for most sessions. With no result being produced in the three games, the series eventually ended in a draw.

Three Test Series (1991-92)

A hero had arrived in Indian cricket – Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. It was expected that this series would probably bring home the lost glory. But the Australians lead by Allan Border had different plans. They yet again outclassed the Indians to register a 4-0 victory, and India's dream of registering the first test series victory in the 'Land of Kangaroos' remained a dream.

Three Test Series (1999-00)

The Australian team of the early 21st century was referred as 'the invincibles'. Glen McGrath and Brett Lee were at the initial stages of their careers and India found them too hot to handle. Apart from Sachin Tendulkar, none of the Indian batters could quite leave their mark. Inability to play on pacy and bouncy tracks eventually cost India the series 3-0.

Four Test Series (2003-04)

Until then, this was the best India team on cards to travel to Australia with Saurav Ganguly leading as captain. VVS Laxman, Dravid, Sehwag, Harbhajan Singh and Zaheer Khan had arrived at the international stage. But they were up against the greatest Australian team to ever play – Ricky Pointing's team! With bigger hundreds and phenomenal bowling performances from both teams, the series comprehensively ended with a scoreline of 1-1.

Four Test Series (2007-08)

India's batting was again under scrutiny with consistency being a problem. There were a few exceptional performances from Tendulkar and Sehwag, but the Australians hunted as a pack. Despite being 2-0 down, India came back to pull off a sensational victory at Perth – courtesy an Irfan Pathan show, and claimed the series 2-1.

Four Test Series (2011-12)

By mid-2011, the Indian cricket team was enjoying unprecedented success, winning the 2011 Cricket World Cup and also being the No. 1 Test team, which they had achieved in 2009. However, this success was turned upside down when the Aussies, yet again, whitewashed the Indians clinically – comprising two innings defeats.

Four Test Series (2014-15)

Kohli – the batsman had already arrived. He scored an astonishing 692 runs during the series, but Australaian skipper, Steve Smith, was on a high of his own – scoring 769 runs. The margin of defeat in the first two tests showed India's desperation to win a test series Down Under. Draws in the remaining two matches meant India had to wait for another tour to come back stronger.

Four Test Series (2018-19)

With a young bunch of players, Kohli fulfilled a dream that no other Asian touring team has ever achieved. Even though there were standout performers in Cheteshwar Pujara and Jasprit Bumrah, the series was won as a clinical team performance with contributions from almost everyone when it mattered. Australia did come strongly to pull off the second test, but India had its intentions clear. The team was able to enforce follow-on for the first time on Australian soil at Sydney. Given the context, 2-1 is quite satisfactory but had rained not played a spoilsport in the fourth test, perhaps the scoreline would have been 3-1. The dream to win a Test series Down Under has finally been achieved!

ARIF MOHAMMAD

ARIF MOHAMMAD

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