Now we bring to you the second part of the series, where we focus on Australia’s tours of India between 1979-80 till 1997-98. This was the era when the Australian side went through one crisis after another and finally emerged out of it to become one of the best sides in the world again. India were slowly and gradually becoming a force to reckon with at home and it reflects in their unbeaten run in this phase.
1979-80: INDIA BEAT AUSTRALIA 2-0 - GAVASKAR'S INDIA DO A FIRST
Australia came calling for a 6-match series, almost a decade after their last tour, under the stewardship of Kim Hughes. These were times of duress in Australian cricket as many top players had defected to media tycoon Kerry Packer's rebel World Series Cricket.
He was well supported by captain Hughes (100) who too reached the triple figure mark. Their 222-run third wicket stand was the cornerstone of the visitors' first innings score of 390 all out.
India responded by scoring 425, but their batsmen struggled in the middle. Sunil Gavaskar (50), Syed Kirmani (57), Dilip Vengsarkar (65) and Yashpal Sharma (52) chipped in with half-centuries, but the real fillip came from a young Kapil Dev's 74-ball knock of 83. The Aussies were 212/7 in their second innings before rain played spoilsport as the match was drawn.
Sunil Gavaskar led from the front with the bat and captained India to their first ever series win over Australia (Getty Images)
The rain gods were relentless and marred the second Test at Bangalore as well. Local hero Gundappa Viswanath's crafty unbeaten 161 and Dilip Vengsarkar's 112 were the highlights as India posted 457 in response to Australia's first innings score of 333. The match was drawn.
The Australian top order fought it out with Kim Hughes (50) and Graham Yallop (89) scoring half centuries to further the score. A crucial half-century from Rick Darling (59) lower down the order gave the visitors a slender lead.
Opener Chetan Chauhan's knock of 84 was the centrepiece of India's second innings as the hosts scored 311 runs to set Australia a target of 279 runs to win the match. The wear and tear on the pitch and the pressure of batting in the fourth innings got to the visitors. Paceman Kapil Dev (4/30) and spinner Shivlal Yadav (4/35) never let the Australians settle down as the tourists were bowled out for 125 to give India the lead in the series.
A batting paradise at Feroze Shah Kotla in Delhi saw Gavaskar (115), Viswanath (131) and Yashpal Sharma (100) slam centuries as India posted a total in excess of 500. Kapil Dev's five-wicket haul dismissed Australia for 298 and the tourists were asked to follow on, raising hopes of victory. The Australian batsmen though raised their game and batted out the remaining part of the match, scoring 413 in the second innings to draw the game.
Australia declared their second innings on 151/6, setting the hosts a target of 247 for victory. A 117-ball 85 from Yashpal Sharma raised hopes of a miraculous win, but eventually the match was drawn as India finished 47 runs shy of the target.
The sixth and final Test at Bombay's Wankhede Stadium saw the hosts bat first and rake up 458 in the first innings. Captain Gavaskar stood tall with his knock of 123, well supported by opening partner Chetan Chauhan (72). Wicket-keeper batsman Syed Kirmani's unbeaten 101 and bowler Karsan Ghavri's cavalier 86 pumped the hosts to a big score.
Kapil Dev was the wrecker-in-chief with the ball and also showed glimpses of his batting prowess. (Getty Images)
The victory giving India their first series win over Australia.
1986-87: SERIES DRAWN 0-0, STORY OF THE HISTORIC TIED TEST
By the time Australia visited India again, this time under Allan Border, they were a fighting unit with talented batsmen and bowlers in their ranks, some of whom would go on to become the world's best.
The first Test at the Chepauk saw Australia score their biggest total in India. Dean Jones redefined his Test career, battling dehydration and cramps in the Madras heat to score a magnificent double century (210). He was well supported by diminutive opener David Boon, who scored a strokeful 122. Allan Border's knock 106 pushed the Aussie total beyond the 550-run mark.
Dean Jones' knock of 210 is still regarded as one of the finest by a visiting batsman in India (Getty Images)
With a sizeable lead in hand, Australia declared their second innings at 170/5, giving India a target of 348 runs and importantly, themselves a chance to take 10 second innings wickets on the final day.
Led by a superb hand of 90 by the veteran Sunil Gavaskar at the top, India set about to achieve the seemingly impossible. Mohinder Amarnath (51), Azharuddin (42) and Chandrakant Pandit (39) contributed to the cause. On the other hand, Australia's chances kept increasing with each falling wicket, Greg Matthews and Ray Bright chipping away to give the visitors a ray of hope.
The excitement of Madras couldn't be carried forward in Delhi as the second Test was marred by rain. Even early and sporting declarations didn't help.
The third Test at Bombay's Wankhede stadium saw Geoff Marsh score a century as the Aussies posted 345 in the first innings. India scored a mammoth 517/5 declared with centuries from local boys Gavaskar (103), Vengsarkar (164*) and Shastri (121*) and that put paid to hopes of any result as the Australians were resolute in the second innings. The series ending in a draw.
1996-97: INDIA BEAT AUSTRALIA 1-0 - TENDULKAR LIFTS BORDER-GAVASKAR TROPHY, MONGIA SHINES
Australia visited India after a decade for the one-off Test, organised to mark the beginning of the Border-Gavaskar series, an honour bestowed upon the two run machines from either country.
Australia won the toss and chose to bat first at Feroze Shah Kotla in Delhi, but were floored by Anil Kumble's magic. The leg-spinner picked up four wickets as Australia were bowled out for 182.
Nayan Mongia scored his lone Test century against Australia in Delhi (Getty Images)
Anil Kumble was in his elements again as he picked up a five-wicket haul to dismiss Australia for 234, as India needed 56 runs for victory.
Mongia and captain Tendulkar departed for ducks, but the nerves were settled as Ganguly and Azharuddin took India home.
1997-98: INDIA BEAT AUSTRALIA 2-1 - TENDULKAR OUTCLASSES WARNE IN CLASSIC DUEL
Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne have always had a lot of mutual admiration and respect despite the hype surrounding their battles (Getty Images)
Billed as the battle between two modern-day greats, all eyes were on Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne, who were both at the peak of their careers. The first Test at Chenai saw Nayan Mongia (58), Navjot Sidhu (62) and Rahul Dravid (52) score half-centuries to give India a solid start. But Shane Warne showcased his class by first removing Dravid and then dismissing Tendulkar cheaply to affect a collapse as the hosts were bowled out for 257. Warne and off-spinner Gavin Robertson piking up four wickets each.
Sachin Tendulkar completely dominated Shane Warne during his knock of 155 at Chennai (Getty Images)
Kumble (four wickets) and Venkatpathy Raju (three wickets) brought India back in the match but a knock of 90 by keeper-batsman Ian Healy and a lower order half-century by Gavin Robertson gave Australia a 71-run lead.
Kumble and Raju were among the wickets again as Australia were bowled out for 168, giving India a 179-run win.
The second Test at Eden Gardens saw Australia win the toss and bat first. Steve Waugh's knock of 80 pushed the Australia total past the 200-run mark as the Indian bowlers made merry.
India's reply was as solid as it could get. Openers VVS Laxman (95) and Navjot Sidhu (97) were unlucky to miss out on centuries and so were Dravid (86) & Tendulkar (79). It was then down to the Indian captain Mohammad Azharuddin to show how it is done on his favourite ground, as the stylish batsman notched up an unbeaten 163 to power India to 633/5 declared. Anil Kumble picked up a five wicket haul as Australia were humiliated by an innings and 219 runs.
India had already wrapped up the series but had a chance to complete a whitewash at Bangalore. Sachin Tendulkar's mastery over his craft and on the Aussie attack was on display again as he stroked his way to 177 runs, helping India score 424 in the first innings.
But a five-wicket burst by paceman Michael Kasprowicz helped Australia bowl India out for 169. Under pressure Australian captain Mark Taylor scored an unbeaten 102 as the visitors chased down the target to complete a consolation win.