India-Aussie rivalry set for new bruising chapter

Updated: 22 March 2011 14:37 IST

Matches between India and Australia have sparked brilliance and controversy down the years and Thursday's World Cup quarterfinal could well feature more of the same.

India-Aussie rivalry set for new bruising chapter
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Ahmedabad:

Matches between India and Australia have sparked brilliance and controversy down the years and Thursday's World Cup quarterfinal could well feature more of the same.

Administrators, who will hope the match passes off without incident, can console themselves with the thought there is an unlikely to be a repeat of the events during the third Test at Melbourne in 1981.

Sunil Gavaskar, then India's captain, was so incensed at being given out lbw to Australia fast bowling great Dennis Lillee he took fellow opener Chetan Chauhan off the field with him.

Only a timely intervention on the boundary edge by Indian team officials, which saw Chauhan persuaded to resume his innings, prevented the first forfeit in Test history.

It was just as well for India because Australia, set a relatively modest 143 for victory, were later bowled out for just 83 with Kapil Dev taking five for 28 in a 59-run victory.

But the scale of that victory was as nothing compared to India's astonishing fightback in Kolkata in 2001 that led to one of the most remarkable Test wins ever seen.

India, forced to follow-on, won the second Test by 171 runs after a sublime innings of 281 from VVS Laxman, well-supported by Rahul Dravid's 180, turned the match on its head before off-spinner Harbhajan Singh took six wickets for 73 runs to complete a stunning rally.

Harbhajan has often been a thorn in Australia's side.

He was a central figure in one of the most controversial incidents of recent times when he was accused of calling mixed-race all-rounder Andrew Symonds a "monkey" during the second Test of the 2007/08 series in Sydney.

The Australia side, never slow in 'sledging' an opposition player themselves, reacted furiously to what they perceived to be a racist insult.

Harbhajan was banned and India threatened to call off the tour.

But Harbhajan's ban was overturned on appeal and India won the third Test in Perth to end Australia's 16-match winning streak.

Australia have though enjoyed an advantage over India at the World Cup, winning seven and losing just two of their nine meetings at the tournament.

Their last World Cup encounter was the 2003 final where Ricky Ponting made a dominating 140 not out to set-up a 125-run win in Johannesburg during a match where Sachin Tendulkar, still India's batting champion, fell for just four.

Topics : Cricket India ICC World Cup, 2011 Australia
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