With the thirteenth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL) wrapped up in UAE, and Mumbai Indians (MI) being crowned their 5th IPL title, the most by any franchise in IPL history, Indian cricket fanatics would now be gearing up for the much-coveted series – India’s tour of Australia 2020-21 – that comprises 3 ODIs, as many T20Is and finally the 4-match Tests known as the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. The tour would commence from November 27 with the Test series being scheduled to be played from December 17 to January 19. The matches would take place in Adelaide, Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane in order.
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India enjoyed ta great success in the previous tour of Australia as they beat the Aussies by 2-1 and became the first Asian side to beat them on their own turf in the longer format. While the Virat Kohli-led side would be eyeing to emulate a similar show this time around, the likes of David Warner, Steve Smith, and Marnus Labuschagne would possibly aim to thwart the tourists’ chance of sealing a triumph.
Team India’s bowling attack has been on a rise for the last couple of years and heading into the series, they would look to extend their dominance and emulate last tour’s figures.
Let us take a look at the top five Indian bowlers with most wickets against Australia in Tests –
5. Zaheer Khan
Arguably one of India’s finest bowlers and one of the best exponents of reverse swing, Zaheer Khan is known as the pioneer in the ‘art of hiding the ball’. He was a pivotal player for the Indian side during his cricketing days and to this date, he is the only Indian left-arm pacer to have scraped 300-plus wickets in Tests.
Zaheer picked a total of 61 wickets in 19 Tests against Australia, with one of his most talked-about performances being the match in Bangalore, in 2008. He tore through the rivals’ top-order comprising Matthew Hayden, Mike Hussey, and Michael Clarke, then cleared the tail with wickets of Brett Lee and Mitchell Johnson to end with figures of 5/91 in the first innings. The match eventually ended in a draw.
4. Ravichandran Ashwin
The Tamil Nadu cricketer came into the Test side in 2011, and since then, he has been one of the most bankable players for Virat Kohli & Co. And among the current set of active players, Ashwin is the only cricketer who has a chance to grab the most number of wickets against Australia.
So far, he has taken 77 wickets in 15 matches averaging just over 31, with 7/103 being the best figures in an innings in the game at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai during the home series against Australia. Not to forget, the off-spinner holds 5 five-wicket hauls to his name.
One of Ashwin’s notable exhibitions in the Australian conditions was during the tour of 2018-19, as he picked match-winning figures of 3/57 and 3/92 in the first and second innings respectively in Adelaide. With hopes to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy, Ashwin would be hoping to emulate a similar show throughout the season in the upcoming series.
3. Kapil Dev
His bowling action has stayed unique in all the years during his cricketing days and since his retirement from the gentleman’s game Kapil Dev is one of India’s icons and without an iota of doubt, he is the greatest Indian all-rounder to have played in the red-ball cricket.
Known fondly as the ‘Haryana Hurricane’, Kapil Dev was a part of 131 Tests and finished with 434 wickets to his name. He picked 79 wickets while averaging 25.35 in the 20 Tests that he competed against the Kangaroos with figures of 8/106 during the tour of 1985-86 wherein he restricted the Allan Border-captained side to 381 in the first innings at Adelaide Oval that turned out to be a draw. His performance is one of the best ever by an Indian pacer on Australian soil.
He hung up his boots in 1994 against New Zealand as the then highest wicket-taker in Tests and till now, he is the only Indian pacer to have crossed the 400-mark milestone.
2. Harbhajan Singh
Harbhajan remains the third Indian bowler to have picked over 400 wickets in the longer format of the game. In 103 Tests, the Punjab cricketer affected 417 dismissals and he was a vital cog for the Indian team when they took on the mighty Australian side led by Steve Waugh in the home-series in 2000-01. He was nearly unplayable as he tore through the opposition attack scraping 32 wickets in 3 Tests with match-winning figures of 7/123 and 6/73 in the second Test at Eden Gardens which helped the Indian side script a 171-run win over the tourists. Overall, the off-spinner bagged 95 wickets in the 18 Tests he competed against Australia averaging just under 30 and 7 five-fors and 3 ten-fors to his name.
1. Anil Kumble
He is India’s highest wicket-taker in Test cricket with over 600 scalpings to his name. Rated by many as one of the greatest match-winners to have risen from the subcontinent, Kumble is the only Indian bowler and second overall to have picked 10 wickets in an innings in the longer format, making him one of the all-time greats to have ever played the game. In an international career spanning almost two decades, the former Karnataka cricketer played a total of 132 Tests and bagged 619 wickets averaging just under 30 with 35 five-wicket hauls in an innings and 8 ten-wicket hauls to his name.
Against the Aussies, Kumble picked 111 wickets at an average of 30.32 with 10 five-fors in an innings and two five-fors. His most notable performance was during India’s tour of Australia in 2003-04 wherein the leggie emerged as the highest wicket-taker with 24 scalpings in the four-match series and the best figure of 8/141 in the first innings of the final match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney.