Australia v India ODIs have been among the most keenly watched contests in limited overs cricket. Though not ‘arch rivals’, in the strict sense of the world, the two teams share a long and checkered history of competition in cricket. In the run up to India’s tour of Australia 2016, we take a look at the top 5 Australia v India ODIs.
#1. Sharjah – April 1998
Result : India beat Australia by 6 wickets
It was the historic final of the Coca Cola Cup. India had managed to reach that far riding on Sachin Tendulkar’s whirlwind performances in the series (remember the Desert Storm?). The Aussies, however, proved to be a tough nut to crack in the final, as they set India a stiff target of 273 for victory. Besides, chasing under lights was not India’s strong suit back then. The Master’s 131-ball-134, however, managed to take India home with a memorable 6-wicket victory.
#2. Sydney Cricket Ground – January 2004
Result : Australia beat India by 2 wickets
The 7th match of the VB Series looked set to be in India’s pocket for the better part of the contest. Centuries from VVS Laxman and Yuvraj Singh had taken India to an imposing total of 296/4 in 50 overs. The Aussies looked firm in their reply, and a 126-run stand for the 2nd wicket between Adam Gilchrist and Ricky Ponting threatened to take the game away from India. However, rain interruptions and 3 quick strikes by the Indian bowlers reduced Australia to 154/4 in the 23rd over, chasing a target of 225 from 34 overs. Indian skipper Sourav Ganguly bowled an inspiring spell to dismiss Symonds, Bevan and Clarke in quick succession, taking his team closer to victory. However, it was an unanticipated Bret Lee cameo in the last three of overs that snatched an Aussie victory from the very jaws of defeat.
#3. Wankhede Stadium – October 2007
Result : India beat Australia by 2 wickets
It was the last ODI in a 7-match bilateral series, which was already in Australia’s pocket by then. The Indian bowlers, led by a 6-wicket haul from Murali Kartik, bowled exceedingly well in this match and managed to restrict the mighty Aussies to 193. In what was expected to be an easy chase, trouble befell the Indians right from the very outset. The top order collapsed with little resistance, and left India reeling at 64/6 in the 19th over. Robin Uthappa managed to lead the tail brilliantly with a fighting innings of 47 and kept India in the hunt. However, it was the unbroken 52-run stand for the 9th wicket between Zaheer Khan and Murali Kartik that helped India scrape past the target in the 46th over.
#4. Brisbane Cricket Ground – March 2008
Result : India beat Australia by 9 runs
The second final of the Commonwealth Bank Series was historic in many ways. India had already earned a deserving lead in the 1st Final, and looked well set to challenge Australia’s supremacy at home yet again. Driven by a splendid 91 from Sachin Tendulkar, India posted a total of 258/9 in 50 overs. Praveen Kumar shook the hosts quite early in the chase by sending back Gilchrist, Ponting and Clarke by the 9th over. However, the middle order kept the chase alive despite disciplined bowling by the Indians. James Hopes herculean effort (63 off 80) reignited Aussie hopes, and the all rounder managed to take his team tantalizingly close to victory. However, lack of support from his partners translated into Australia ending up 9 runs short of the Indian total.
#5. Ahmedabad – March 2011
Result : India beat Australia by 5 wickets
It was the historic clash between the two teams in the quarter final of the Cricket World Cup 2011. Australia were the World Champions back then, having won the coveted title thrice in succession. India, on the other hand, appeared to be a formidable force at home. The Aussie skipper Ricky Ponting lived up to his reputation of being a ‘big match player’ and scored a fine century to take his team to 260/6 in 50 overs. India replied firmly, with gritty half centuries from Sachin Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir maintaining the balance in the chase during the middle overs. However, Gambhir’s unfortunate run out in the 34th over, and MS Dhoni’s dismissal in the 38th over, quickly turned the tables on India. It was Yuvraj Singh’s memorable 57* that came to India’s rescue thereafter, as the southpaw steered India to victory in the 48th over.