In the absence of regular skipper Virat Kohli, stand-in captain Ajinkya Rahane guided India to a historic Test series win in Australia. After getting shot out for 36 within an hour of Day 3 at the Adelaide Oval, Rahane lifted up the spirits of a broken and injury-marred Indian side to outperform Australia on their home turf in the next three Tests. In the process of doing so, the Team India captain also breached Australia’s ‘Fortress’ which remained a burial ground for visitors from November 1988 up until India's historic win on the feared turf.
The last time an Australian side lost a Test match at The Gabba was way back in November 1988. Back then, the Viv Richards-led West Indies side thrashed the hosts by nine wickets on the back of Curtly Ambrose’s twin three-wicket hauls. The nine-wicket defeat was followed by a 32-year-old streak for the Australian side where they maintained an unbeaten run against all touring parties.
The sequence, known to be one of the proudest chapters of Australia’s rich Test history, was finally broken, thanks to a spirited fightback from a young bunch of Indian cricketers. Interestingly, Ajinkya Rahane is not the only Indian skipper to break a famous Australian streak in international cricket. Similar Australian streaks, once known to spark fear in their opponents, have been red-signalled by a proud line of legendary Indian captains. Here is a list of some famous Australian cricketing runs at the highest stage getting curtailed under an Indian captain.
Australia hold the record of registering most successive wins in Test cricket. They won 16 straight matches on two different occasions. While their dominant run under Steve Waugh was ended by Sourav Ganguly & Co. in 2001 in Kolkata, Ricky Ponting’s bunch of Test pinnacles ended their 16-match run to an Indian team led by Anil Kumble in 2008.
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane are the only two Indian captains to ever register a Test series win in Australia. Moreover, the two cricketers are also the only two Asian captains to do so. India is also the only team to end Australia’s unbeaten run over Asian sides at the WACA (2008) and Gabba (2021), courtesy of Anil Kumble and Ajinkya Rahane respectively.
Australia were in pursuit of their fourth successive World Cup title during the 2011 quadrennial event in India. Under the leadership of Ricky Ponting, the defending champions set up a date with MS Dhoni’s India in the quarterfinal. Yuvraj Singh played a match-winning knock to end Australia’s dream World Cup run and just a few days later, captain MS Dhoni launched a six over long on to end India’s 28-year old World Cup drought.
Indian openers made their way onto the middle on Day 5 of the Gabba Test, which also marked the final day of India’s two-month long tour of Australia. Chasing 328 to pull off an unlikely Day 5 match and series victory, young opener Shubman Gill scored a cracking 91 from just 146 balls while batting barnacle Cheteshwar Pujara guarded the wicket from his end. Rishabh Pant later played out an 89-run blinder to see India past the finishing line.
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