India and Australia have developed an intriguing rivalry since they started playing for the Border-Gavaskar trophy in 1996. Usually, home teams have dominated the proceedings and won on most occassions. In the 2018-19 series in Australia, the Indian team broke this pattern and emerged victoriously. It was also India's first Test series victory in Australia in 71 years.
Even though India could not win a series before 2018-19, still some of India's most memorable Test wins came in Australia. Indian fans fondly remember the famous Perth Test victory from the 2007-08 series. Adelaide Test victory in 2003-04 series Down Under courtesy of Dravid's 233 and 72* knocks remains in the reminiscences of Indian cricket fans as an all-time classic.
The next chapter of this saga will unfold shortly as India and Australia will face off in the first Test of the 4-match series on Thursday. We can expect fireworks as both teams are intense contenders, and playing against each other brings out the best in them.
For now, let's revisit the past and see which batsmen hit the most number of hundreds in Border-Gavaskar Trophy until now.
#4 Virat Kohli - 7 centuries
India skipper Virat Kohli has always thrived under pressure while playing against Australia in their backyard. He made his first Test century (116) against the same opposition in a losing cause at Adelaide in 2012.
Since then, he has not looked back. It's astonishing that out of the seven centuries Kohli scored against Australia, only one came in India. The remaining six centuries came while playing Down Under. Virat Kohli has scored three centuries at the Adelaide Oval, one each at MCG, SCG, and Perth.
Kohli has hit seven Test centuries against Australia, but the century in the fourth innings of the Adelaide Test in 2014 stands out. It was this knock that skyrocketed his stock in Test cricket. His counter-attacking knock (141 off 175 balls) helped India to almost chase down a target of 364 on the final day at Adelaide. The team eventually fell short by 40 runs.
In 19 Test matches, Kohli has scored 1604 runs at an average of 48.6, including seven centuries and four fifties. 169 at MCG during the 2014 tour is his highest score in a Test innings against the Australian team.
#3 Steve Smith - 7 centuries
Steve Smith has always relished batting against India and scored truckloads of runs against them. Smith's one-sided dominance began during the India tour of Australia in 2013-14. In that series, Smith was in a beast mode and amassed 768 runs across eight innings at a Bradmanesque average of 128.17, including two fifties and four centuries.
After that career-defining series, Steve Smith started dominating Test bowing attacks all around the globe and became arguably the best Test batsmen of this generation.
Out of his seven centuries against India, Smith got four off them in Australia (during 2014-15 series) while three came in India during the 2017 series. Smith has scored hundreds at MCG, Adelaide Oval, SCG, and the Gabba during India's tour in 2014-15. Australian team management will be hoping for an encore as those are the venues for the current 4-match series.
In 10 Test matches, Smith has scored 1429 runs at an astonishing average of 84.05, including seven centuries and three fifties. 192 at MCG during the 2014 tour is his highest score in a Test innings against the Indian team.
#2 Ricky Ponting - 8 centuries
Ricky Ponting has always been a nemesis for the Indian team in the 2000s. Ponting was not potent while playing Tests in India as he would get outfoxed by Harbhajan Singh consistently. But when India toured Australia during that period, Ponting was highly consistent with the bat.
His first hundred (125) against India came in 1999 in a winning cause at Adelaide Oval. Ponting was unstoppable after that. Out of his eight centuries against India, seven of them came on Australian soil. He hit four centuries at Adelaide Oval (1999, 2003, 2008, 2012), two at SCG(2000, 2012), and one at MCG in 2003. Ponting's only century in India came in 2008 when he scored 123 at M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore, in a drawn match.
In 29 matches, Ponting has accumulated 2555 runs at an average of 54.36, including 12 fifties and eight centuries. His highest Test score of 257 came against the Indian team at MCG in 2003.
#1 Sachin Tendulkar - 9 centuries
In his first tour to Australia in 1992, Sachin Tendulkar announced himself at the international level by scoring twin centuries (148* and 114) at WACA and SCG. At the tender age of 18, Sachin displayed outstanding adaptive skills in testing conditions and built a perfect launchpad for his legendary career.
Sachin's first hundred in Border-Gavaskar trophy came in 1998. He scored a superlative century (155*) in the third innings of that Test at Chennai, which helped India to set a target of 348 for Australia. It was a counter-attacking master class as Sachin hit Shane Warne all-around the park during that innings, which left the legendary spinner speechless.
Sachin Tendulkar has scored five centuries in home conditions, whereas the remaining four came while India toured Australia. He hit two centuries at SCG(2004, 2008), one each at MCG(1999) and Adelaide Oval(2008).
Sachin has amassed 3262 runs across 34 matches at an outstanding average of 56.24, including 16 fifties and nine centuries. Sachin's highest score of 241* against Australia came at SCG in 2004.Published 17 Dec 2020, 09:05 IST