India’s first tour to Australia was in 1947/48 under the captaincy of Lala Amarnath for a five-Test series. Sir Donald Bradman led the Aussies and this was the only time that ‘the greatest Test batsman in the world’ played against India.
The series was designated as the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, named after legends Allan Border and Sunil Gavaskar.
1977, 3rd Test: India won by 222 runs in Melbourne:
This was the first-ever Test victory of India on Australian soil. Down 0-2 in the five-match series, the then India captain Bishan Singh Bedi chose to bat first in the third Test. Both Indian openers, Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan got back to the pavilion without troubling the scorecard, but the visitors manage to score 256 runs in their first innings thanks to Mohinder Amarnath (72), Gundappa Viswanath (59), and some useful contributions by the middle order batsmen as well.
Bhagwat Chandrasekhar then took six wickets as Australia were bowled out for 213 runs. Gavaskar with a brilliant 118 in the second innings made up for his duck in the first innings and Viswanath scored yet another half-century (54), India scored 343 runs to set a target of 387 runs for Australia.
Chandrasekhar again showed his brilliance and took six wickets in the second innings. With Bedi accounting for the rest of the four scalps, Australia was bundled out for just 164 in their second innings. India with a big 222-run win registered their first-ever Test victory in Australia.
1985, 1st Test: Match drawn in Adelaide:
Although it was a high-scoring drawn Test match, the then India’s captain Kapil Dev’s eight-wicket haul stood out in the Australian first innings. His second wicket is still the most memorable one perhaps, as he swung the ball back in to rattle the stumps of his Australian counterpart Allan Border on 49.
Kapil’s 8/106 persists to be the best bowling figures in an innings by any bowler in an India-Australia Test in Australia. Australia was bowled out at 381.
India responded by scoring a mammoth total of 520, with Sunil Gavaskar scoring an unbeaten 166.
The Australian second innings ended at 17/0. Although that match finished in a draw, Kapil’s figures will always be remembered.
2003, 2nd Test: India won by 4 wickets in Adelaide:
This win was India’s first test victory in Australia since their triumph in Melbourne 1980-81. After Ricky Ponting propelled Australia to 556 with his 242 runs knock in the first innings, Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman showed their class with a momentous 303-run partnership for the fifth wicket. The fourth Test double-hundred by Dravid was an emphatic answer to his staunch critics who questioned his ability to score runs in Australia. He didn’t only exorcise the ghosts of the 1999-2000 Australia tour with this innings but also entered the league of the greats.
Ajit Agarkar’s figures of 6/41 then further pushed Australia into the abyss; they were bowled out for 196 runs giving India a 230-run target. Dravid with an unbeaten 72 in the second innings as well chased down the target and won the match by 4 wickets to take a 1-0 lead
2008, 2nd Test: Australia won by 122 runs in Sydney:
In January 2008, in the second Test match between India and Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) probably modern-day cricket’s worst controversy happened when Andrew Symonds did accuse Harbhajan Singh of calling him a “monkey”. Harbhajan was banned for three Tests, although the decision was later overturned and redrafted to a 50% match-fee fine after India’s appeal. There were also rumors that India might pull out.
The match was also marred by dubious umpiring decisions. Ricky Ponting also claimed that Michael Clarke’s catch of Sourav Ganguly was clean even after the ball had appeared to hit the ground. Subsequently, India lost dramatically and captain Anil Kumble remarked, “Only one team played in the spirit of the game.”
The Indian team complained against the umpiring in the match, as several cliché errors were made. ICC prevented umpire Steve Bucknor from officiating in the third Test in Perth. Bucknor recently admitted as well that he made “two mistakes” during the Sydney Test. Charged up team India won that match by 72 runs
2018, 3rd Test: India won by 137 runs in Melbourne:
India won the first-ever test series against Australia in Australia in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. In that series, India won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs and they lost the second at Perth by 146 runs.
At the MCG, C. Pujara completed his 17th hundred and consolidated the good start of India, which enabled Captain (Kohli) to declare the innings at 443/7. With Jasprit Bumrah’s best figures of 6/33, he became the first bowler of the sub-continent who registered a five-wicket haul in South Africa, England, and Australia in the same year. With his best bowling figures of 9/86, Bumrah was an Indian hero in that Test victory. Ravindra Jadeja also took crucial 5 wickets in that Test, which India won by 137 runs to take a 2-1 series lead.
Australia had to Follow-on in the next Test in Sydney and India was on a driving seat to a 3-1 series scoreline before the bad weather jolted their hopes with a draw and an overall 2-1 series scoreline. The victories in Adelaide and Melbourne were sufficient enough to deem Kohli and his team the first-ever Indian cricket team to win a Test series in Australia.