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Australia In India: Test History - Part 2 - 1979-80 to 1997-98

Arnab Sen |Cricketnext | Updated: February 18, 2017, 3:35 PM IST
Australia In India: Test History - Part 2 - 1979-80 to 1997-98

Sachin Tendulkar and Shane Warne during Australia's tour of India in 1997-98 (Getty Images)

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.

In PART ONE of the series - The tours between 1956-57 to 1969-70


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.

India under Sunil Gavaskar too were under prepared for the series, as they had just returned from an England tour. The first match at Madras' Chepauk stadium saw a young left-hander give early signs of what was to follow for the next decade. Allan Border's resilience and fighting spirit, which was to be the highlight of Australia's resurgence as a cricketing power in the days to come, was on show as he scored 162 runs during his 400-plus minute stay at the crease.

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.

gavaskar 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.

In the third Test at Kanpur, Gavaskar won the toss and decided to bat first. The Indian captain along with Chetan Chauhan (58) put on 114 for the first wicket. Gavaskar himself scored 76 and that was followed by effective hands from Vengsarkar (52) and Viswanath (44). But once the top order was dismissed, the Australian pace duo of Geoff Dymock and Rodney Hogg triggered a collapse. The duo picked up 9 wickets between themselves as India from 214/4 were bowled out for 271 in the first innings.

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.

The fifth Test at Eden Gardens also saw the hosts coming very close to clinching another win after a sporting declaration from the Aussies. Graham Yallop's century (167) powered Australia to 442 in the first innings. The Indian top order responded well with Vengsarkar (89) and Viswanath (96) again leading the charge. But a lower order collapse meant Australia got a 95-run lead.

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 Kapil Dev was the wrecker-in-chief with the ball and also showed glimpses of his batting prowess. (Getty Images)

Australia needing to win the Test to tie the series were all at sea as spinners Dilip Doshi (5/43) and Shivlal Yadav (4/40) scuttled the visitors out for 160. Border and Hughes tried their best but a 4-wicket burst from Kapil Dev and three more wickets by Doshi ended the Aussie resolve. India winning by an innings and 100 runs to win the Test.

The victory giving India their first series win over Australia.


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 Dean Jones' knock of 210 is still regarded as one of the finest by a visiting batsman in India (Getty Images)

Australian off-break bowler Greg Matthews wrecked the Indian top order by picking up a five-wicket haul. Half-centuries from Kris Srikkanth (53), Azharuddin (50) and Ravi Shartri (62) propped up India but the threat of following on loomed large. Until skipper Kapil Dev produced one of his special counter-attacking knocks, the all-rounder belted 21 boundaries to score 119 of just 138 balls as India posted 397.

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.

Ravi Shastri held one end up even as the lower order collapsed. From 251/4, India went to 344/9. Ravi Shastri took a single off Matthews to tie the scores. But number 11 Maninder Singh was trapped in front by Matthews as the match ended in a tie, only the second in Test history till then.

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.


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 opened the batting for India and scored a fluent 152, his highest Test score and only century, supported well by Sourav Ganguly (66) as India scored 361 to take a big lead.

mongia 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.


sachin warne 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 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.

India needed a solid batting performance in the second innings and the platform was laid by an attacking 64 from the blade of Sidhu and another patient half-century by Rahul Dravid. After that it was a one man show. Tendulkar decimated the Australian attack, targetting his foe Warne the most as he displayed batsmanship of highest quality. His knock of 155, which had fourteen boundaries and four massive sixes, powered India to 418/4 declared, setting Australia a target in excess of 300 runs to win the Test.

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.

Australia's premier batsman at that time, Mark Waugh, responded with an unbeaten knock of 153 to guide the Aussies to 400, as a draw looked like the only conclusion.

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.

First Published: February 18, 2017, 2:44 PM IST

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