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Australia In India: Test History - Part 1 - 1956-57 to 1969-70

Arnab Sen |Cricketnext | Updated: February 14, 2017, 8:13 PM IST
Australia In India: Test History - Part 1 - 1956-57 to 1969-70

Australia and India are the two powerhouses, who have dominated cricket in all its formats for the past two decades. The two teams share a Test history of close to 70 years, with India playing a series down under for the first time in 1947.

The Aussies came calling to India for the first time in 1956 and since then have toured the sub-continent on 13 occasions. The two teams have played riveting cricket over the years, which has resulted in some of the most exciting Test series in the history of the sport.

With their 14th Tour to India in offing, we at CricketNext take a look at the history of Test cricket between the two countries on Indian soil. In part one of the series - we will focus on the tours between 1956-57 to 1969-70.


Australia's first tour to India started in October 1956 at the Chepauk in Madras and the Aussies registered a comprehensive victory by an innings and five runs. Indian captain Polly Umrigar won the toss and elected to bat first, but a seven wicket haul from leg-spinner Richie Benaud floored the Indians. Visiting captain Ian Johnson scored a fighting half-century to help the Aussies take a sizeable lead and a 7-wicket burst from paceman Ray Lindwall gave Australia an easy win.

The Indians produced a more disciplined batting performance in the second Test at Bombay with GS Ramchand scoring a first innings century. The headlines though were made by the Aussie duo of Jim Burke and Neil Harvey,who scored mammoth tons on a placid track.

The third Test at Eden Gardens had conditions tailor-made for the hosts as the pitch took spin from the word go. Off-spinner Ghulam Ahmed picked up seven wicket as Australia folded for 177 in the first innings. Richie Benaud picked up six wickets to give the Aussies a small lead but Vinoo Mankad and Ghulam Ahmed combined to ensure India had to chase 231 runs to level the series in the decider.

richie-benaud-gettyRichie Benaud picked up 23 wickets in the three-match series (Getty Images)

But another fifer by Richie Benaud meant India lost the match by 94 runs and also the series. The leg-spinner ended the the three match series with 23 wickets.


Australia played their first five-match Test series in India in the 1959-60 season under the leadership of all-rounder and leg-spinner par excellence Richie Benaud. India on the other hand were led by GS Ramchand. The Aussies won the opening Test match at Delhi's Feroz Shah Kotla by a comprehensive margin of an innings and 127 runs, with skipper Benaud picking up eight wickets in the match. Neil Harvey led the way among the batsmen with a fine century.

The two teams met again at Kanpur for the second Test match and it was a superlative display of off-break bowling by India Jasu Patel, that gave them their first ever Test victory over Australia. Patel picked up a whopping 9 wickets in the first innings to skittle the visitors for 219, this after the hosts were bundled out for a paltry 152. Gritty half-centuries by opener Nari Contractor and middle order batsman Ramnath Kenny ensured Australia were set a target in excess of 200 runs

Jasu Patel came back to pick up a five-wiket haul (5/55) and he was well supported by Polly Umrigar (4/27) as India coasted to a 119-run victory and levelled the series.

The third Test at Bombay's Brabourne stadium was drawn with batsmen from both the teams making merry. Nari Contractor's ton helped India post 289 in the first innings, but the Aussies responded in similar fashion with Neil Harvey and Norm O'Neill scoring tons.

benaud-harvey-gettyAustralian captain Richie Benaud and batsman Neil Harvey were the architects of Australia's series win (Getty Images)

Australia took the lead in the series when they beat the home side by an innings and 55 runs at the Corporation stadium in Madras. Opener Les Favell scored a century, in the first innings to help the Aussies post a total in excess of 300 and then captain Richie Benaud, picked up eight wickets to bowl out the hosts twice in quick succession.

A batting paradise in Kolkata's Eden Gardens meant the final Test was drawn with batsmen from both teams ruling the roost. Australia won the series 2-1.


The 1964-65 series saw the rise of an all new Indian team under the leadership of charismatic leader Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi. But the team faced a setback in the opening Test at Madras as a strong Australian side led by Bob Simpson won by 139 runs.

An unbeaten century by Indian captain MAK Pataudi gave the hosts a narrow lead but half-centuries by Simpson, Burge and Veivers meant India had to chase 333 runs to win the match. Aussie paceman Graham McKenzie picked up four wickets in the second innings, having already taken a 6-wicket haul in the first, to fashion an easy win for the visitors.

The second Test at Bombay was a tight affair with fortunes oscillating from session to session. Young leggie Bhagwath Chandrasekhar's four-wicket haul restricted Australia to 320 in the first innings. Jaisimha (66) and Vijay Manjrekar (59) laid the platform with well crafted half-centuries and captain MAK Pataudi (86) played another gem of a knock to give the hosts a slender lead.

Chandrasekhar took four wickets again in the second innings to ensure the Aussies didn't run away with the match. Chasing 254 for victory, India were down and out at 122/6, but a 93-run stand between Pataudi (53) and Manjrekar (39) brought the hosts back in contention. The finishing touches to India's victory were given by Chandu Borde, whose unbeaten knock of 30 gave India a two-wicket win.

mak-pataudi-gettyIndian captain Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi in action against Australia (Getty Images)

The decider at Calcutta was evenly poised on the third day with the Aussies ahead by 82 runs in the second innings with 9 wickets in hand. But the last two days were washed away due to rainand India drew their first ever series against Australia.


A strong Australian side under the captaincy of Bill Lawry visited India for a five-Test series in the 1969-70 season. The first Test in Bombay saw the hosts making abright start as they posted 271 on the board, thanks mainly to a strokeful 95 by captain MAK Pataudi. A Keith Stackpole century allowed the Aussies to take a lead of over 70 runs. The Indians collapsed in the second innings to set the Aussies with a target of 64 runs to win the match, which the Aussies did after losing two early wickets.

The second Test at Kanpur was a match dominated by the batsmen, with both teams scoring in excess of 300 runs in their first innings. But the highlight of the match was a fabulous century by young Gundappa Viswanath, as the artist showed early signs of what was to come in the 70s.

Ian Chappell's first innings century in the third Test at Delhi took Australia to 296 and a six-wicket haul by Ashley Mallett gave the visitors a sizeable first innings lead. Bishan Singh Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna picked 5 wickets each to trigger a second innings collapse as the Aussies folded for 107. Ajit Wadekar scored a classy unbeaten 91 to take India to a series levelling 7-wicket win.

The visitors struck back with vengeance at Calcutta in the fourth Test. Graham McKenzie's six-wicket haul sank India in the first innings as they were bowled out for 212. A confident Australian top order led by Ian Chappell (99) and Doug Walters (56) made a firm reply taking a lead of more than 100 runs.

Eric Freeman and Alan Connolly picked up four wickets in the second innings to guide Australia to a ten-wicket victory.

The fifth Test at Madras was a chance for India to level the series, but a Doug Walters (102) century in the first innings took the visitors to a respectable 258. Ashley Mallett's five-wicket haul sank the Indians as they folded for 163.

Erapalli Prasanna responded with a six-wicket haul to dismiss the Aussies for 153, leaving India with a chase of 249 runs to level the series on a landmine of a wicket. Wadekar (55) and Viswanath (59) raised hopes with a century stand but Mallett returned with yet another five-wicket haul to complete his ten for the match to take the Aussies to a 77-run victory and helped seal a 3-1 series win.

ashley-mallett-gettyOff Spinner Ashley Mallett was the architect of Australia's 3-1 series win over India in 1969-70 (Getty Images)

Australia would next visit India almost a decade later. We will bring you that series and the ones which followed in the Part -2 of this series.

First Published: February 14, 2017, 7:22 PM IST

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