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5 Greatest Adelaide Tests between India and Australia

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Timeless

The Adelaide Oval: A historic venue that has adapted to the modern game
The Adelaide Oval: A historic venue that has adapted to the modern game

On Thursday, India and Australia meet in Adelaide to battle for the first match of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. They first met at the venue over 70 years ago, in the first Test ever played between the two nations.

Adelaide has been home to some of the most entertaining Tests in Australian cricket's recent history. The three day-night Tests it has hosted, have all provided wonderful spectacles, and the 2006 Ashes Test, affectionately referred to as 'Amazing Adelaide,' remains one of the nation's proudest cricketing achievements.

But the games Australia and India have played against each other deserve their own chapter, as the two sides have played some sensational Tests at the beloved venue.

Despite the day-night Tests offering a refreshing amounting of seam for the bowlers, the Adelaide Oval is historically, a batsman-friendly wicket.

This is partly due to the short square boundaries, and also because of the even bounce the pitch generally offers. It has arguably become even more batsman-friendly since 2013, when drop-in pitches started to be used, meaning, the wicket deteriorated less as the match progressed.

Being less favorable to pace bowling than any of the other main grounds in Australia, and often being more inviting for spinners than any other ground barring Sydney, Adelaide has time and again seemed the venue best-suited for Indian players.

This has certainly been witnessed through some exceptional innings by Indian batsmen, dating back to Vijay Hazare's performance in the first Test ever played between the two sides.

This was in 1948, where an Indian side, still establishing themselves as a Test-playing nation, took on one of the greatest sides Australia had ever fielded.

As expected, Australia won easily, with Sir Donald Bradman scoring 201. But Hazare refused to be overawed by the occasion, scoring a century in both innings.

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66 years later, Virat Kohl would replicate this feat at the very same venue.

Between these individual milestones, the likes of Sunil Gavaskar, Mohammad Azharuddin, VVS Laxman, and Sachin Tendulkar have all found joy batting on the famed Adelaide wicket.

Their performances, among others, have helped make Adelaide a key venue for one of cricket's strongest rivalries.


#5 1978 (Australia won by 47 runs)

Bishan Singh Bedi

Bishan Bedi captained India to a series win

The ball-tampering debacle sees Australia enter this current series in disarray, but even their present issues are nothing compared to what they had in 1978.

This was because the five-match series with India was the first since World Series Cricket had begun. The Chappell brothers were gone, and so were Dennis Lillee, Rod Marsh and several other talented players.

They had been replaced by several decent state cricketers, and Bob Simpson, who had returned to lead the team after spending seven years in retirement.

With India having the likes of Gavaskar, Syed Kirmani, Bishan Bedi and Bhagwat Chandrasekhar in their side, this was probably their best chance of winning a Test series in Australia to date.

What evolved was an incredible contest. Australia edged the first two games by the narrowest of margins, but India reared back and won the third and fourth Tests resoundingly. This meant that going into the final Test at Adelaide, the series was poised at 2-2.

Australia started just as the would have wished. Centuries from Graham Yallop and the veteran, Bob Simpson, would lead them to a first innings total of 505.

They then limited India to just 269, with Gundappa Viswanath's 89 being the only positive India could take from the innings.

But India had shown resilience to come back from 2-0 down in the series, and now showed similar resilience as they began to claw their way back into the match.

Australia opted against enforcing the follow-on, perhaps thinking they had knocked the fight out of India, but were restricted to 256, with Bedi and Karsan Ghavri taking four wickets each.

This left India needing what would have been a record-breaking 493 for victory.

Remarkably, they almost managed it, falling just short with 445, having at one stage been 6/415.

All India needed to make the difference was one batsman to make a big score, as the innings ended without any of their batters reaching a century.

Australia had the last laugh, as they won the series 3-2.


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