Test cricket has seen some iconic rivalries over the years. Among them, ‘The Ashes' between Australia and England and the Indo-Pak rivalry are the ones which most cricket lovers would give the top billing.
But there is another dual which has attained quite a colossal status in recent years and that is the Border-Gavaskar series between India and Australia.
The two teams have been playing Test match cricket for over half a decade now but it is only in the recent years that this rivalry has gained epic proportions. And this has been possible due to some classics that the teams have produced.
The two most important factors in this rise in status has been Australia's ascendency to the top of the cricketing world beginning at the turn of the century and throughout this period, India has been the only team that has consistently managed to stand up against the all conquering Aussie juggernaut both at home and ‘Down Under'. The Australians are back in the sub-continent after a drawn series against Pakistan in England and are also preparing to have a go at the Ashes at home. This series will surely be a Test for a side looking to get their invincible status back.
India, on the other hand, are sitting pretty at the top of the perch in Test cricket and the series provides them another opportunity to consolidate their position.
As these two mighty powers take on each other, Cricket NDTV takes a look at their history on Indian soil.
Australia 2 India 0
In Pic: Richie Benaud
This tour belonged to Australia but the hosts showed enough sparks and came close to tying the series.
At Chennai, Richie Benaud took 7 for 72 as India were bowled out for 161. Australia made 319, a lead of 158, and Lindwall claimed 7 for 43 to wrap up victory by an innings and-five-runs.
India did well to dig out a draw in the second Test in Bombay and were poised for a win at the Eden Gardens but one man (Richie Benaud) had some other ideas.
Needing just 213 to win in the fourth innings, India looked favourites to square the series but a five-wicket haul by Benaud ensured a 94-run win for the Australians. Benaud finished the series with 23 wickets.
Australia 2 India 1
In Pic: Neil Harvey
India managed to win their first ever Test match against Australia but the Aussies still managed to win the series.
Neil Harvey's century set up an Australian win in the first Test in Delhi but off-spinner Jasubhai Patel's 9 wickets at Kanpur ensured that the hosts tasted victory.
After a high-scoring draw in Mumbai, Australia took the lead in Madras and then sealed the series with another draw in Kolkata.
Australia 1 India 1
In pic: Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi
Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi led an Indian side hungry for success at home. Although the tourists won the first Test by 139 runs, India came back hard to clinch a thriller at Mumbai.
Pataudi struck two fighting fifties while Bhagwat Chandrashekhar took 8 wickets in the match. The final Test was rained out and both sides shared the honours for the series.
Australia 3 India 1
In pic: Bill Lawry (Left Top), Ashley Mallet (Right Top), Doug Walters (Left Bottom), Keith Stackpole (Right Bottom)
When Australia toured India in 1969 under Bill Lawry, little did they know that this would be their last series win here for over three decades.
The Australians opened the tour with an easy win in Mumbai followed by a high-scoring draw that saw debutant Gudappa Vishwanath score a labored 137 in the second innings.
Prasanna and Bedi each took 9 wickets to help India win the third Test at Delhi. But heroics by Mallet, Stackpole and Doug Walters meant that Australia ran away with the series after winning the next 2 matches in Kolkata and Chennai.
India 2 Australia 0
In pic: Sunil Gavaskar
Led by the original ‘Little Master', this Indian side was a tough unit and they made sure that the Australians would lose their first ever series on Indian soil.
After two high scoring draws, the home side drew first blood at Kanpur with a 153-run win, built by half-centuries from Gavaskar, Vengsarkar, and Chetan Chauhan and excellent bowling from Kapil Dev.
Although the Australians were made to follow on in the fourth Test, they were able to grind out a draw.
But India were keen to finish on a high and they did that by beating the tourists by an innings and 100 runs in the final Test in Mumbai.
Skipper Gavaskar stood out with two centuries and three half-centuries while Kapil Dev displayed his great prospects with the ball by taking 28 wickets in the series.
Tests: Australia 0 India 0 Tie 1
In pic: Maninder is given out as Australia tie the match
This tour will be remembered for the tied first Test in Chennai when Ravi Shastri was stranded at the non-striker's end to see Maninder Singh succumb to Matthews.
A Dean Jones double century alongwith centuries from David Boon and Alan Border took Australia to a mammoth first innings total.
India replied well with a 119 from skipper Kapil Dev but were given a stiff fourth innings target which they almost chased down.
The following two Tests were to be drawn as the series remained tied as well.
India 1 Australia 0
In pic: Sachin Tendulkar with the trophy (Inset: Nayan Mongia)
This was the official launch of the Border-Gavaskar trophy as the Test match series between the two countries is now called.
In the one-off Test in Delhi, Nayan Mongia hit his only Test hundred ever to set up an Indian win in Sachin Tendulkar's first Test match as Indian captain.
India 2 Australia 1
In pic: Sachin Tendulkar and Anil Kumble
Billed as the Warne vs Tendulkar series, the wily leg spinner managed to get his man in the first innings of the first Test cheaply, but the 'Master Blaster' scored an unbeaten 155 in the second innings and Kumble and Raju bowled India to a 179-run win.
Captain Azharuddin came into his own in the second Test at the Eden Gardens to hit an unbeaten 163 to script an Indian win.
With the series in the bag, India lost the third Test at Bangalore, thanks to the heroics of Michael Kasprowicz
Tests: India 2 Australia 1
In pic: VVS Laxman, Matthew Hayden, Harbhajan Singh
This series is a landmark one in many ways and is responsible for taking the intensity in Indo-Oz encounters up by several notches. This series was also a great advertisement for Test cricket which has for long been termed by many as an obsolete form of the game.
Steve Waugh's all conquering side came to India with a record of most successive Test wins (15) and soon stretched their record to 16 as they wrapped up the first Test in Mumbai in three days, thanks to Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist.
Under pressure to perform, the hosts seemed doomed for another heavy defeat as they were made to follow-on at Eden Gardens in the second Test.
Enter Laxman, who scripted a flawless 281 in a 376-run stand with Rahul Dravid, whose 180 was perhaps the best supporting act in history. A young Harbhajan Singh leading the Indian spin attack in the absence of Kumble took India's first ever Test hat-trick in the first innings and then took 6/73 to spin India to an unbelievable win.
The Indian juggernaut rolled on to Chennai and even after a double century by Hayden, India managed to clinch a thrilling 2-wicket win with Harbhajan taking 15 wickets and Sachin coming to the party with a century.
Australia's barren run continued as they couldn't breach the ‘Final Frontier' while India started a new era in their cricketing history under the leadership of Sourav Ganguly.
Australia 2 India 1
In pic: Michael Clarke hits ton on debut
Australia finally got what they wanted. A series win on Indian soil led by Ricky Ponting.
The Aussies won the first Test by 217 runs with Michael Clarke scoring a century on debut. India looked set to come back at Chennai but the match was drawn as the last day was rained out.
The Aussies sealed the series with a win in Nagpur while India pulled off a scarcely credible 13-run victory in the last Test in Mumbai on a minefield of a wicket with Australia being bowled out in the second innings for 93.
India 2 Australia 0
In pic: Dhoni and Kumble with the trophy
After a high scoring draw in the first Test match, India seized the initiative in the second Test match at Mohali and took the lead in the series with a 320-run victory with Amit Mishra taking 8 wickets.
A drawn Test in Delhi and Indian skipper and leading wicket taker in Test matches, Anil Kumble decided to hang up his boots.
India sealed the series in Nagpur with a 172-run win under M S Dhoni but this game too saw the nd of an era in Indian cricket. Arguable the best man ever to lead an Indian side, Sourav Ganguly too followed Anil Kumble and retired from international cricket.
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