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India-Australia rivalry: A modern-day epic

India vs Australia: always awesome events. In the world of sports when we talk about ...

India-Australia rivalry:  A modern-day epic

India vs Australia: always awesome events. In the world of sports when we talk about fiercest rivalries, the names that come to mind are EL Classico, Ashes or Pakistan-India contests. Without any doubt, India-Australia cricket rivalry is one of them in modern-day cricket. Ever since the 1986 tied Test at Madras, India vs Australia matches are always awesome events, both in one-day and Test.

Their Test series has been named Border-Gavaskar Trophy to pay respect to the two stalwarts. In the 1990s and the 2000s, the teams had the services of such great cricketers as Sachin Tendulkar, Shane Warne, Steve Waugh, Rahul Dravid. The current decade has been dominated by Steve Smith, Virat Kohli, David Warner and R Ashwin.

Chennai is a venue which has seen some of the most scintillating contests: Sachin slog sweeping Warne on his way to an epic 155; a baby-faced Steve Waugh sending Maninder Singh’s off stump flying to clinch the 1987 World Cup game by one run; and Dean Jones’ monumental 210 scored in sweltering heat. Who can forget that 2001 Test series deciding match which India won by just two wickets when they were chasing 155!

In 2003-04 series in Australia, India played a 1-1 draw and retained the trophy. Dravid was the star with 619 runs — a performance that got him the player-of-the-series award.

But in 2004-05 series, the Aussies did what no one thought was possible. They defeated the Indians in their own backyard 2-1. It was after 35 years that Australia won a Test series in India.

But for India the one day performance which stands out is without doubt the 2007 CB series of which India won the two finals: the first by six wickets thanks to Sachin’s 117 and the second by just nine runs.

The 2009 one-day series stands out for Australia as they won the seven-match series 4-2. During the series, Sachin became the first batsman to reach 17,000 runs.

The most memorable encounter has to be the 2001 Kolkata Test which India won after being forced to follow-on. Laxman and Dravid batted the entire fourth day — Laxman scoring 281 and Dravid making 180. Young Harbhajan Singh took 13 wickets in the match, the first of a string of great performances.

In the 2007-08 series a big controversy arose in the second Test at SCG when India lost with just nine minutes of the day remaining. Out of nowhere Michael Clarke took three wickets in an over.

The Indians claimed that it was because of some wrong decisions made by Steve Bucknor and Mark Benson which cost India the match.

The 2008 Test series was the last for great Sourav Ganguly, a captain who showed the world that India can compete at any ground and can survive against all odds.

The first Test in Bangalore in the 2010 series was the contest which Ponting called one of the greatest matches he had ever been involved in. India chased down 216 by just one wicket with Laxman scoring 73 not out.

The 2013 one-day series in India was a run-feast with both the teams posting and chasing totals above 300. In that series, Rohit Sharma scored a mammoth 200. The series saw some records being broken. Kohli’s blistering 100 off 52 balls in the 2nd ODI was the fastest century by an Indian batsman in history.

James Faulkner’s 100 off 57 balls in the deciding seventh ODI was the fastest century by an Australian.

We hope that this series will be the same with sheer entertainment provided by David Warner, Rohit Sharma and new star Hardhik Pandiya.

Syed Intikhab Ali

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