Rivalry is something which adds intensity and excitement to the game as fans dip into their emotions while backing their favourite athlete/team to succeed. India vs Australia is one rivalry that has grown into something bigger in the past decade or so. The two cricketing powerhouses faced each other in late 1947 a few months after India’s independence from the British Raj.
The Asian nation was in a rebuilding phase but the passion for sports was quite high even at the time. India would register a Test series win over Australia on their ninth attempt in 1979/80.
The rivalry ignited when the trophy of India vs Australia Test series was named after two of the greats of their respective teams - Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar, and from 1996, the two opponents began playing for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
BGT 2023: ‘Australia Have no Chance, They Will Not Win a Test’
Border and Gavaskar two batting greats who shared an on-field rivalry for a very long time and the cricket boards of their respective nations decided to immortalise it.
When the names of two greats were associated with the trophy, a lot was at stake when India and Australia faced each other in 1996 for the only Test. Mark Taylor and Co. faltered against a young Indian side as Nayan Mongia turned out to be a standout performer when stars like Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Ricky Ponting, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin and Steve Waugh were involved in the contest. The southpaw scored 152 runs in the first innings to set up the victory while Anil Kumble spun his web around Australian batters to pin them down at Feroz Shah Kotla.
The Asian giants did it again when Australia toured India for the second edition of BGT in 1997-1998. Azharuddin and Co. once again dominated the mighty Aussies and claimed a 2-1 series victory.
In 1999, India travelled to Australia to play the first Border-Gavaskar Trophy Down Under and Steve Waugh had just started his reign as the new captain. The Kangaroos finally managed to get their hands on the coveted trophy woth a dominating 3-0 series win.
The Australia tour of India in 2000-01 witnessed one of the most exciting matches in Test cricket history - that Eden Gardens Test. VVS Laxman (281) played the knock of his life to produce something extraordinary as he and Dravid (180) helped India overcome the follow-on to register a historic victory in the second Test to level the series. Sourav Ganguly’s men then beat the Aussies once again in Chennai to clinch the series 2-1 which is regarded as one of the best Test series in history.
India produced a stellar show on Australian soil in 2002-03 to draw series 1-1 which witnessed some masterclass performances from the likes of Dravid, Ponting and Tendulkar who all scored double century apiece.
However, Under Ponting’s leadership, the Aussies outshined India in 2004/05 and 2007/08. India lost both the series by a similar margin of 1-2 but the 2007/08 tour witnessed the ugly ‘Monekygate’ controversy which involved Late Andrew Symonds and veteran Indian off-spinner Harbhajan Singh.
The next two Border-Gavaskar Trophies were hosted by India in 2008/09 and 2010/11, they managed to win on both occasions as Australia failed to register a single win in the six matches (combined two series).
Also Read | There Will be a Temptation to Play Three Spinners, Playing XI Not Decided: KL Rahul Ahead of Nagpur Test
The last decade witnessed India dominating the Aussies both at home and Down under. However, India witnessed humiliation a few months after they become ODI World Champions as Australia thrashed them 4-0 on the 2011-12 tour. Virat Kohli was the only positive for India on that tour as the young India maverick was the only batter to score a century on that tour for visitors. A year later, Dhoni’s men took their revenge by crushing Australia the same way when they travelled to India in 2012-13.
A lot changed in Indian cricket on the 2014-15 tour as Dhoni announced his retirement from Test cricket after the third match. It was the start of a revolution not in Indian cricket but in the world cricket too. India lost the series but Kohli became a household name in Australia for his sensational batting performances and never give up attitude.
His on-field rivalry with Steve Smith also started with that series as the two batters scored a plethora of runs. Smith won the battle that time but Kohli gave an equally good account of himself.
The next three Border-Gavaskar Trophies were won by India as Kohli’s men beat Smith and Co. at a home in 2016/17 - 2-1, but it was expected considering their dominating record when playing in their own backyard.
Kohli moved to the top of the ladder and sat on the king’s throne by beating Australia Down Under on 2018-19 tour. It was the first time when Australia lost a Test series at home against an Asian team. The fearless brigade of India outclassed them 2-1 with some masterclass performances by Cheteshwar Pujara, and the series also witnessed the rise of Rishabh Pant.
The 2020-21 India vs Australia series is widely regarded as one of the greatest Test series of all time and it was like a typical Bollywood masala movie where India came back from a humiliating defeat to create history. Australia annihilated Kohli and Co. in Adelaide with the tourists being bundled out for their lowest total of 36 in second innings.
Kohli - the captain of ship returned home on paternity leave for the birth of his first child. In his absence, Ajinkya Rahane took over the charge of the side.
Alongside the support staff, led by Ravi Shastri, he instilled a belief in the team that they can overcome the Adelaide humiliation.
India beat Australia in the Boxing Day Test at MCG to level the series which was termed a fluke by many but the visitors kept grinding as they drew the Sydney clash courtesy of a hard-fought battle by Hanuma Vihari and Ravichandran Ashwin. The duo fought against Australia and their respective injuries at the same time to give India a chance to win the series in the fourth Test.
Australia may have been confident when the final Test started at their fortress Brisbane but in the end, they were defeated by what had become a third-string Indian team where young boys like Mohammed Siraj, Shardul Thakur, and Shubman Gill showed character against a star-studded side and in the end, Pant played the most important innings of his life to breach the fortress.
India clinched the series 2-1 and registered back-to-back series victories Down Under to extend their domination over Australia.
Get the latest Cricket News here