Australia have dominated the game for the most part of the 21st century. Irrespective of the format, they conquered the world and played some phenomenal cricket. However, things have changed a lot in the past few years for the Baggy Greens.
Ever since the departure of Ricky Ponting and Michael Clarke, they have been on the decline. It hit the rock bottom when David Warner and Steve Smith were found guilty of ball tampering in 2018.
The Aussies have rarely lost a Test series at home and to be precise, they have lost only six Test series at home since 1988. Australia is one of the toughest places to tour for any team and not many away captains have found success in Australian conditions.
On that note, here we take a look at the six great captains who have won a Test series in Australia since 1988.
#6 Sir Vivian Richards, West Indies
It was the time when the West Indies were one of the dominant force in world cricket. With some devastating batsmen and bowlers like Gordon Greenidge, Desmond Haynes, Carl Hooper, Sir Vivian Richards, Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, and Curtly Ambrose, they played fearless cricket, irrespective of where they played.
During their 1988/89 tour of Australia, West Indies played a five-game series against the host. When everyone expected it to be a close one, West Indies defeated Australia 3-1. Led by Viv Richards, West Indies demolished the host to stamp their dominance.
The first three games of the series were one-sided as they dominated Australia in every department. Though Australia pulled one back in the fourth Test, it was very late to change the fate of the series. Curtly Ambrose finished the series with 26 wickets while Desmond Haynes dominated the run-scoring charts.
#5 Sir Richie Richardson, West Indies
In a hard-fought Test series, the opening game ended in a draw. West Indies survived the final day of the first Test as they lost eight wickets in their pursuit of 231.
Australia took an early lead in the series as they won the second Test by 139 runs. Mark Waugh and Alan Border scored brilliant hundreds in the game. The third Test ended in a high scoring draw as both teams scored more than 500 runs in their first innings.
However, West Indies won the fourth Test by one run. It was one of the best Test matches that these two sides have ever played as West Indies defended 185 to salvage a win.
West Indies clinched the series 2-1 at Perth as they demolished Australia by an innings and 25 runs in the fifth Test. Richardson led them from the front with 380 runs and deservedly lifted the trophy.
#4 Andrew Strauss, England
Andrew Strauss led England to a famous Ashes win in 2010/11. England drew first blood at Adelaide after a dull draw at Brisbane. England won the game by an innings and 71 runs, led by Kevin Pietersen's masterful 227 and Alastair Cook's brilliant hundred.
Australia drew level at Perth, courtesy of Mike Hussey's brilliant 116 and 61. Australia won the match by 267 runs. It was all England in the fourth and fifth Test as they swept aside Australia to win the series 3-1. They won the fourth Test by an innings and 157 runs and fifth Test by a margin of an innings and 83 runs.
Andrew Strauss was brilliant throughout the series and led them from the front. The former England captain played his part with the bat as well as he finished the series with 307 runs at an average of 43.85. Cook finished the Ashes with 766 runs in five Tests.
#3 Graeme Smith, South Africa
The next captain on our list is the former Proteas superstar Graeme Smith. He is the only captain in the last 30 years to win a Test series in Australia on two occasions. He did it for the first time when South Africa toured Australia in 2008/09. This was Australia’s first home series defeat in 16 years.
The first Test match at Perth produced one of the greatest chases in the history of Test cricket. South Africa chased down 414 runs in the fourth innings. They won the second Test by nine wickets to win the series 2-1 as Australia pulled one back in the third Test.
Smith did it again when they toured Australia in 2012 for a three-match series. First two Tests ended in a draw and South Africa beat Australia by a huge margin of 309 runs in the third Test to win the series 1-0.
#2 Faf du Plessis, South Africa
Over the past couple of decades, when most teams struggled against Australia, South Africa stood up to them and even beat them on numerous occasions, home and away.
Faf du Plessis became the second South African captain to win a Test series in Australia in the past 30 years. He led South Africa to their third successive Test series victory on Australian soil, which no other teams managed during that time period.
The Proteas won the first Test by a huge margin of 177 runs, courtesy of a second innings hundred by Duminy and Elgar. South Africa then demolished Australia by an innings and 80 runs to win the series, thanks to Kyle Abbott's 9/118 and Quinton de Kock's blistering hundred.
Australia pulled one back in the third Test but that wasn't enough to prevent Faf du Plessis from lifting the trophy.
#1 Virat Kohli, India
Virat Kohli's team is the most recent tourists to inflict a Test series defeat on the Baggy Greens in their home soil. India went into the series with a relatively inexperienced squad and a lot of pressure was on Kohli to deliver goods, especially as a captain.
India started the series with a hard-fought win over the hosts at Adelaide but lost the second Test match at Perth. After some dismal performances from his opening batsmen, Kohli made a huge decision to drop both their openers for the Melbourne Test and gave Mayank Agarwal his Test debut. Vihari was moved up the order to open the batting.
It worked wonders for India as Agarwal played with authority at the top. Bumrah and Pujara helped India go 2-1 up in the series. Final Test at Sydney ended in a draw as India won their first ever Test series in Australia. Kohli also equalled Ganguly's record of most overseas Test wins as captain and answered his critics in style.