Team India is on a winning spree. They retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy quite comfortably by beating Australia by a victory margin of 2-1. It should have been 3-1 but for the rain which saved Australia at Sydney. A total of 170 overs were lost in Sydney due to incessant rain on the fourth and fifth day of the Test match. In the end, India had to settle for a 2-1 margin.
The focus is now shifted to the three-match ODI series between Australia and India starting on Saturday in Sydney. Let us only hope the rain stays away this time around.
The Indian team would be bolstered by the arrival of one-day specialists in MS Dhoni, Shikhar Dhawan, Kedar Jadhav, Ambati Rayadu and Yuzvedra Chahal. Hardik Pandya would also make a welcome return to the team after an injury lay-off.
The selectors have made a wise decision in resting Jasprit Bumrah for the one-day series in Australia and New Zealand. India's ODI outfit, even without Bumrah, is a formidable one.
India starts as favorites but the shorter version of the format might help Australia mask their current weaknesses and come up trumps. In any case, beating Australia in Australia in an ODI series is by no means an easy task. India has so far played 48 ODIs against Australia in Australia and has won only 11.
India started off exceptionally well by winning their first ever ODI against Australia in Australia at Melbourne way back in 1980 by a comfortable margin of 66 runs. In 1980, India were infants in one day cricket whereas Australian players had the experience of playing in the Kerry Packer series.
Besides, Australia had players of the caliber of Greg Chappell, Kim Hughes, Allan Border, Doug Walters, Rodney Marsh, Dennis Lillee, and Len Pascoe. India, under the captaincy of Sunil Gavaskar, managed to cause a big upset in their first ever ODI against Australia in Australia.
After their first win and their famous win in the Benson and Hedges World Series Cup in 1985, victories for India in Australia were far few and far between in the 80s and 90s. It was only from the new millennium that India started competing on equal terms with Australia in ODIs in Australia.
On the eve of the upcoming series, let us go back in time and cherish five of India's best ODI wins against Australia in Australia.
#5 Benson and Hedges World Series at Perth, 1991
There were the days in Australia when one-day matches were sandwiched between Test matches. In 1991, India first played a Test match at Brisbane and promptly lost the match before the tour schedule moved into one-day tri-series with West Indies as the third team.
The first match of the tri-series at Perth between India and West Indies ended in a tie. India took on Australia in the second match of the series at the same venue. India won the toss and elected to bat first. For India, Ravi Shastri and Kris Srikkanth opened the innings while Craig McDermott and Bruce Reid opened the bowling for Australia.
Though Shastri struggled to the accurate bowling of the Australian opening bowlers, Srikkanth was his usual aggressive self. It was Srikkanth who first started the culture of hitting the ball over the top in the first power play. His style of play was later followed by players like Mark Greatbatch and Sanath Jayasuriya.
At Perth, while technically sound players like Ravi Shastri and Sanjay Manjrekar struggled, Srikkanth raced away to his 60 at run-a-ball before he became Steve Waugh’s second wicket. Helped by the contribution from the middle-order in the form of Sachin Tendulkar(36), Pravin Amre(33) and Kapil Dev(25), India reached 208 at the end of the 50 overs.
The Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin was happy with the total posted by his batsmen since just two days ago against the West Indies, India managed to tie that match after scoring just 126. The Indian bowlers were now confident of defending 208. Though Australia was top heavy with Geoff Marsh, David Boon, Dean Jones, and Allan Border, India had a good seam bowling to suit the conditions at Perth with Kapil Dev, Manoj Prabhakar, Javagal Srinath and Subroto Banerjee in their ranks.
The Indian opening bowlers struck immediately with Manoj Prabhakar inducing David Boon to edge it to Kapil Dev in the slips. Kapil Dev himself struck in the very next over when Dean Jones unwisely charged down the wicket to Kapil and was castled. The introduction of Srinath resulted in the wickets of Captain Allan Border and Tom Moody.
Australia was hopelessly placed at 68 for 5 and the match was good as over. The match was entirely dominated by the seamers of both the teams up to that point. That was when left-arm orthodox spinner Ravi Shastri came into the attack. In no time Shastri got 5 wickets in his 7 overs and the Australia late-order and tail simply caved into the guiles of Ravi Shastri. In the end, Australia was bundled out for 101. Shastri finished with figures of 5 for 15. India won by a massive margin of 107 runs. Srikkanth got the man of the match for his 60 on a bowling wicket. He was the only batsman to cross a score of fifty in that match.
At that time, Perth was India’s biggest margin of a win against Australia in terms of the number of runs. Australia was humbled at home.
#4 Adelaide 2012
This was India’s 3rd match of the triangular series with India having lost their first match against Australia and won their second match against Sri Lanka.
Australia won the toss and elected to bat first. Australia reached 269 for 8 in 50 overs with contributions from Michale Clarke(39), Peter Forrest(66), David Hussey(72) and Daniel Christian(39).
The Indian openers Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag gave India a solid start scoring 50 before Sehwag got out in the 10th over. Though India lost Kohli cheaply, Gambhir was at his best reaching his 50 off 63 balls. India reached 100 for 2 in the 21st over with Gambhir and Rohit Sharma at the wicket.
Gambhir and Rohit Sharma added 76 runs for the third wicket and brought down the target to below 100. But both Rohit(38) and Gambhir(92) departed one after the other in quick succession. Gambhir made a solid 92 off 117 balls. He certainly deserved a hundred that day. The loss of two quick wickets brought India’s two best ODI batsmen, Suresh Raina and M.S. Dhoni to the wicket with India needing 92 runs in 16 overs, at 5.75 runs per over.
Dhoni was so slow to start with scoring a mere 2 runs in his first 15 balls. However, Raina made up for that reaching 16 off 15 balls. The batting powerplay of 5 overs produced a meager 18 runs for India. At the end of Powerplay, India needed 68 in 9 overs and the required run rate jumped up to 7.55.
It was Raina who broke the shackles and lifted Doherty over deep mid-wicket for a big six. At the other end, Dhoni was still slow on 18 off 39 balls. However, Raina kept the required run rate under control by easing McKay through extra cover for a four.
India now needed 31 runs in 4 overs with the well set Raina and the struggling Dhoni at the wicket. However, Doherty bowling the 47th over of the innings, turned the match in Australia’s favour first by cleaning up Suresh Raina and then conceding just 4 runs in that over. The required run rate shot up to 9 in the last 3 overs.
India managed to score 10 runs in the 48th over bowled by McKay. It was once again Doherty who titled the match in Australia’s favour by giving away 4 runs and removing Ravindra Jadeja in the 49th over of the innings.
India needed 13 runs in the last over bowled by Clint McKay with Ashwin on strike. For India, it was all up to captain cool who had come to India’s rescue on innumerable occasions in the past. After playing out a dot ball, Ashwin gave back the strike to Dhoni.
12 needed off 4. That was when McKay erred in length and bowled a length ball outside the off-stump. Dhoni was waiting for the length ball in his radar as he smacked that ball over long-on for a six.
6 needed off 3. Off the fourth ball, Dhoni was caught at mid-wicket but it was a no-ball for height and Dhoni survived. Meanwhile, 3 runs were added to the total.
3 needed off 2. Dhoni pulled the next ball to square leg and ran 3. India won the match in dramatic fashion with 2 balls to spare. It was once again left to Dhoni to finish off the match for India. Dhoni did not let his fans down on the day. However, India failed to qualify for the final of the triangular series which was won by Australia.
#3 Commonwealth Bank Series, First Final, Sydney, 2008
India reached the final of the Common Wealth Bank series derailing Sri Lanka, the third team in that tri-series.
The Australian captain Ricky Ponting won the toss and elected to bat first. Australia had a disastrous start to their innings losing 3 wickets for 24. The Indian opening bowler Praveen Kumar accounted for Gilchrist and Ponting while Ishant Sharma had Michael Clarke caught behind.
Mathew Hayden was once again India’s nemesis as he slowly got into his groove. Hayden made 82 and in partnership with Andrew Symonds(31) and Michael Hussey(45) pulled Australia out of trouble. Australia finished with a par score of 239 for 8 in 50 overs.
The Indian openers Sachin Tendulkar and Robin Uthappa put on a 50 run partnership before Uthappa got out. Gambhir and Yuvraj left soon. Luckily for India, Sachin was playing his best innings of the series reaching his 50 off 56 balls. India were 88 for 3 at the end of 19 overs when Rohit Sharma joined Sachin.
Rohit Sharma reached his 50 off 70 balls with 5 fours. The Aussies had a chance to break the partnership but Ponting dropped Rohit off the bowling of Nathan Bracken and allowed the partnership to complete a century. By that time, India was almost through and the main interest in the match was on whether Sachin Tendulkar, on his last tour of Australia, would be able to score his first one-day century in Australia.
Sachin duly completed his 42nd one-day hundred in the 42nd over bowled by James Hopes. Rohit Sharma got out to the next ball. Dhoni finished the match in his customary style with a succession of boundaries. Sachin remained not out on 117 which came off 120 balls with 10 fours. It was India’s first win in a final of a triangular series in Australia.
#2 Sydney, 2016
This series was a five-match bilateral series. Australia won all the four matches before the team met at Sydney for the final match of the series. India had nothing to lose except pride.
Dhoni won the toss and in keeping with the trend in the series, elected to field on a good batting wicket. India was in control of the game when Australia was trimmed to 117 for 4 for the loss of Aaron Finch, Steve Smith, George Bailey, and Shaun Marsh’s wicket. But David Warner was still at the wicket and in association with Mitch Marsh took the score to 235 before Warner fell for a well made 122.
Thereafter Mitch Marsh and Mathew Wade ripped through the Indian bowling striking 85 runs in 10 overs. Mitchell Marsh reached his maiden ODI century in the last over of the innings. Australia reached a mammoth 330. For India debutant, Jasprit Bumrah took 2 for 40 in his 10 overs. India had to score 331 to avoid the humiliation of a whitewash.
The Indian openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan put their best foot forward on a very good batting wicket. India reached 50 in the 8th over and 100 in the 16th over. Dhawan was aggressive of the two completing his 50 off 42 balls while Rohit took 60 balls.
Finally, Australia got a double breakthrough when John Hastings got rid of Dhawan and Kohli in successive overs. Dhawan gave India the perfect start with a quickfire 78 off 56 balls with 7 fours and 3 sixes.
Manish Pandey playing only in his fourth ODI was promoted to number 4 to join Rohit. Some friendly stuff from Nathan Lyon and Steve Smith helped Manish Pandey to settle down and get going at the same time. The 50 of the partnership was posted in 53 balls.
Rohit Sharma got a life when he was dropped by Mitch Marsh on 92. However, he could not reach his hundred and was unlucky to lose his wicket on 99. Dhoni walked in with India needing 100 from 91 balls. As always, Dhoni took his time to settle down with 6 off 20 balls while Manish Pandey went on to complete his 50.
India needed 77 in the last 10 overs. While Dhoni continued to struggle, Pandey was impressive with his stroke play and reached 70 off 55 balls.
In the last 5 overs, India needed 45 runs with 7 wickets in hand. While Dhoni got stuck on 16, Manish Pandey raced away to 85. Still, India needed 35 from 18 balls. Mitchell Marsh came into bowl the 48th over. The second ball was edged down to the third man boundary by Pandey. India reached 300 in that over. Dhoni finally got bat on ball as he clobbered the 5th ball for a straight boundary. 13 runs came in the 48th over.
22 needed in 12 balls. Faulkner did not concede any boundaries in the 49th over and India needed 13 runs with Manish Pandey on 98. However, it was Dhoni who was on strike. After conceding a wide, Mitch Marsh bowled a juicy full toss outside the off-stump which Dhoni promptly lifted over long off for a six. Marsh had his revenge in the next ball when David Warner came under a skier at long-off. But the batsmen had the presence of mind to cross over and Manish Pandey was on strike.
6 needed off 4. Pandey squeezed the next ball to third man boundary and reached his maiden ODI hundred. The match got over in the next ball and India won the match by 6 wickets with 2 balls to spare. Manish Pandey remained not out on 104 off just 81 balls with 8 fours and one six. That was the first time India had successfully chased down a target of more than 300 against Australia in Australia.
#1 Commonwealth Bank Series, Second Final, Brisbane 2008
India won the first final at Sydney, courtesy of Sachin Tendulkar’s first ODI century in Australia. The Indians were confident going into the second of the best of three finals.
Dhoni won an important toss for India. The Indian openers Sachin and Uthappa once again gave an excellent start for India reaching 90 for no loss in 20 overs. Sachin started from where he left off at Sydney reaching his 50 off 70 balls with 5 fours. Sachin added 54 runs for the third wicket with Yuvraj Singh.
Sachin was all set to reach his second ODI century in Australia before his uppish drive off Michael Clarke was held by Ponting at mid-wicket. Sachin went for 91. With some lusty blows from Dhoni, in the end, India reached a competitive score of 258.
Praveen Kumar made India’s score to look like 300 when he took 3 quick wickets. Adam Gilchrist, playing his last match for Australia, was caught behind in the first over. In his second over, Kumar got his second wicket, that of Ricky Ponting when he skied a catch to Yuvraj at mid-on. In the fourth over of the innings bowled by Sreesanth, Mathew Hayden was dropped by Dhoni.
In his fifth over, Praveen Kumar cleaned up Michale Clarke and Australia was reeling at 32 for 3. Their only hope was Mathew Hayden. But he too was struggling after the loss of so many wickets at the other end. Hayden found a willing partner in Andrew Symonds and these two added 89 for the fourth wicket.
Australia reached their 100 in the 23rd over. Hayden duly completed his 50 off 67 balls. Symonds greeted Piyush Chawla to the wicket with a big six over long-on. When it looked like Hayden and Symonds would take Australia through, India got lucky as Hayden ran himself out at the non-striker's end. Two balls later, Harbhajan trapped Symonds in front and India were back in the game. Australia slipped to 123 for 5.
Australia needed 76 in the last 10 overs with Mike Hussey and James Hopes at the wicket. In the 42nd over of the innings, Sreesanth gave a crucial breakthrough for India with the scalp of the dangerous looking Mike Hussey. But James Hopes was batting beautifully at the other end and he was the only hope for Australia to take the series into the third final.
Hopes brought down the required run rate easing off 2 consecutive fours in the 45th over bowled by Praveen Kumar. Now Australia needed 36 in 5 overs, not impossible with James Hopes at the wicket. Harbhajan bowled the 46th over and gave away only 3 runs. Praveen Kumar too gave away 3 runs in the 47th over and got the wicket of Brett Lee.
30 needed off 3 overs with 3 wickets in hand. Harbhajan gave away 8 runs in the 48th over. Sreesanth started the 49th over beautifully conceding just 2 runs off four balls and removing Mitchell Johnson in the interim.
20 needed off 8 balls. That was when Sreesanth decided to test Hopes with a short ball which sailed over long-on for a six. Hopes got a single off the last ball and retained strike.
Now 13 needed off 6 balls. Irfan Pathan bowled the last over for India with Hopes on strike. Irfan conceded a single off the first ball and kept Hopes off the strike. Nathan Bracken got out to the next ball but the batsmen crossed over. After scoring a couple of the third ball, Hopes had to go for it of the fourth ball as 10 were needed off 3 balls. However, he could not clear the in-field and gave Chawla a simple catch. India won the match by 9 runs.
It was India’s first trophy win in a triangular series in Australia.