India vs Australia in Tests: Lesser known facts

back icon
safari
09 Dec 2020 | 01:57 PM
authorAbhishek Mukherjee

India vs Australia in Tests: Lesser known facts

Here are some obscure moments from one of the greatest modern-day rivalry

heart

Share

In 1947-48, Australia became the first country where Independent India toured for a Test series. Since then, the teams have met in 98 Tests across 26 series. Here are some relatively obscure facts from India-Australia matches.

Oxenham’s secret

The first Australian team visited India (and Ceylon) in 1935-36. They played four unofficial ‘Tests’, winning two and losing two. With 86 wickets at a ridiculous 6.81 apiece on the tour, Ron Oxenham was their star bowler. One of the running jokes behind his success was his surname, which was supposed to make him undesirable to both Hindus (who did not consume oxen) and Muslims (prohibited to have ham).

The Fazal incident

Twenty-year-old Fazal Mahmood was selected for the Australia tour of 1947-48. However, on his way back from the camp at Poona, a Hindu mob attacked their train. They wanted Fazal and were intercepted by CK Nayudu, who was brandishing a bat. Fazal had little option but to settle down in Pakistan. He later became their first great bowler.

The fastest Padma Award

India beat Australia for the first time at Kanpur in 1959-60. With 9/69 and 5/55, Jasu Patel was the hero of the Test – at that point the best innings and match figures by an Indian. So significant was the win that in a few months’ later Patel (along with Vijay Hazare) became the first cricketer to be honoured with the Padma Shri. 

Benaud’s record

Richie Benaud routed India with match figures of 8/76 at Delhi during the same series. His first-innings figures read 3.4-3-0-3, still a world record for most wickets in a Test innings without conceding a run. Nobody else has taken even 2/0.

Chappelli’s stance

Australia were playing South Zone on the 1969-70 tour. EAS Prasanna missed one from Alan Connolly. Wicketkeeper Ray Jordon, standing up, knocked a stump. Prasanna was given out bowled. Later, captain Bill Lawry thought whether Jordon should replace the out-of-form Brian Taber. Prompt came the response from vice-captain Ian Chappell, who had seen the Jordon incident: “If you are going to pick Ray Jordon in the Australian cricket team, please don’t consider me for selection.”

Patil and Pascoe

Len Pascoe could generate steep bounce off great speed, and was known for hitting batsmen even since grade cricket, often bowling in tandem with Jeff Thomson. He hit Sandeep Patil on the head in the 1980-81 Sydney Test, but Patil came back to slam 174 at Adelaide. But the injury affected Pascoe psychologically (“I had lost the will to bowl aggressively anymore and I was to retire soon after”).

A Sunny feat

Sunil Gavaskar had scored hundreds at Brisbane, Perth, and Melbourne in 1977-78. He followed this with two more in 1985-86, at Adelaide and Sydney. This made him the first overseas cricketer to score at all five Australian major grounds (Alastair Cook has emulated this).

Mo’s antics

The second tied Test match, at Madras in 1986, was played in sweltering heat, which famously sapped all energy out of Dean Jones during the course of his famous 210. Greg Matthews found a novel way to combat this. He wore two sweaters while fielding. To quote Steve Waugh, Matthews theorised that “nomadic herders in the desert wore woollen coats because they kept the cool air in.” It must have worked, for Matthews’ match numbers read 44, 5/103, 27*, and 5/146.

Three to tango

Two Tests later, India declared on 517/5 at Bombay. Sunil Gavaskar scored 103, Dilip Vengsarkar 164 not out, and Ravi Shastri 121 not out. This was the first instance of three local batsmen scoring hundreds in the same Test innings.

King of the jungle

On a trip to an animal orphanage in Harare, a lion’s urine drenched Steve Waugh and Justin Langer. Australia then won 16 Tests in a row, and the two men marked the incident as a lucky charm. They visited the Alipore Zoo ahead of the famous Kolkata Test and waited to get themselves drenched again. Unfortunately, they got thwarted thanks to superhuman efforts from Harbhajan Singh, VVS Laxman, and Rahul Dravid. Their streak screeched to a halt.

One-man show

Harbhajan picked up 32 wickets in three Tests during the 2000-01 home series. His teammates combined to take another 17. None of them took more than three wickets; and among specialist bowlers, Zaheer Khan was the only one to play more than one Test match. Three left-spinners – Rahul Sanghvi, Venkatapathy Raju, Nilesh Kulkarni – got selected once each and never played Test cricket again.

Agarkar’s celebration

Ajit Agarkar had scored ducks in each of his last five Test innings on the 1999-00 tour (including four golden ducks). He returned in 2003-04, when he finally got a run. He immediately raised his bat to celebrate the occasion, to which the crowd responded with laughter and applause.

“Loose change” arrives

In the Brisbane Test of 2014-15, a substitute fielder dove forward to take a magnificent one-handed catch to help Nathan Lyon claim Varun Aaron. This fielder, Marnus Labuschagne, played against India when they toured four years later. And going into the Test series, he is third-ranked Test batsman in the world.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags

Related Articles

safari
OPINION
India vs Australia in Test cricket: Famous Indian wins
As the Australia-India Test series looms closer, we look back at India's most memorable Test wins against Australia
userAbhishek Mukherjee
14 Dec 2020
safari
OPINION
India vs Australia in Test cricket: Iconic moments
As we are a fortnight away from the Test series between India and Australia, here are some memorable moments from the rivalry
userAbhishek Mukherjee
02 Dec 2020
safari
FEATURE
England vs Pakistan: A history in cricket and controversies
As England prepare to take on Pakistan in yet another Test series, here's a look at the rivalry and controversies that have lit up the contests between the two nations
userAbhishek Mukherjee
04 Aug 2020
safari
ONTHISDAY
The milestone Tests
From the first to 2000th, here's a look back at milestone matches in Test cricket
userCricket.Com Staff
25 Jul 2020
safari
NEWS
Western Australia cricket chief lashes out at CA for India series snub
"All the metrics associated with cricket over the last two years see us surpass Brisbane in every area, whether that's crowds, broadcast ratings, even better rainfall at that time of year, more corporate seats"
userPTI
28 May 2020
safari
ONTHISDAY
When India won a Test series in Pakistan
On this day (April 16) in 2004, India won a Test series in Pakistan for the first time
userNitin Fernandes
16 Apr 2020
safari
OPINION
The ‘Real Test’ of India’s Test Ascendancy
While the current trend is of teams dominating at home, the real challenge for India's dominance in Test cricket is to win consistently overseas
userDillip Mohanty
28 Feb 2020
safari
NEWS
Australia-India Test series will be remembered for a long time: Waugh
The former Australian captain reckons inclusion of Smith and Warner in the Test XI will be the team stronger
userPTI
11 Jan 2020
safari
ANALYSIS
Stats Burst: India first Test side to win four consecutive matches by an innings
Find all the big stats and records from the Kolkata Test between India and Bangladesh in Stats Burst
userMohandas Menon
25 Nov 2019
safari
NEWS
test
user
11 Apr 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved