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Wisden’s all-time combined India-Australia Text XI

All time India Australia XI - Wisden's All time India-Australia Test XI
by Naman Agarwal 5 minute read

Naman Agarwal picks Wisden’s all-time combined India-Australia Test XI.

India and Australia will be competing for the World Test Championship Trophy in a couple of weeks – a testimony to their sustained success over the last couple of years.

Across history, both teams have featured in some of the most memorable clashes. We have picked a team with the best performers in the history of India-Australia Test matches, considering only cricketers who have featured in at least two series.


Stats in bold refer to numbers in India-Australia Test matches

Wisden’s all-time India-Australia Test XI: The Selections

Matthew Hayden

1888 runs @ 59, 8 50s, 6 100s, HS: 203

Hayden has the most runs among openers in India-Australia Test matches, and averages 50 in either country, across seven Tests at home and 11 away. His most memorable knock was the epic Chennai double hundred in 2000/01, one of the most memorable series of all time. Despite his herculean eight-hour knock where he hit as many as six sixes, Australia lost by two wickets and consequently the series by 2-1.

Bob Simpson

1125 runs @ 53.57, 6 50s, 4 100s, HS: 176, 23 wickets @ 28.13, 1 five-for, BBI: 5-59

Simpson pips Sunil Gavaskar for the second opener’s slot. He played three series between 1964/65 and 1977/78. In the second, he returned after a decade’s hiatus to lead Australia, who lost several key players to Kerry Packer. He finished his only series in India with 292 runs at an average of 48.67. At home, he scored four hundreds across two series. As opener, he averages 62.11 against India.

To go with such a stellar batting record, he also had 23 wickets to his name against India with his leg-spin, which gave him the edge ahead of Gavaskar.

Cheteshwar Pujara

2033 runs @ 50.82, 11 50s, 5 100s, HS: 204

Pujara is one of only six batters with two thousand runs in India-Australia Tests. The division of his runs is also almost equal – 993 at 47.28 in Australia, 1040 at 54.73 in India. He was one of, if not the biggest reason behind, India’s first series victory in Australia in 2018/19 and then played a major part in the 2020/21 victory as well. His duels with Nathan Lyon over the last decade have become a part of Test cricket’s folklore.

Sachin Tendulkar

3630 runs @ 55, 16 50s, 11 100s, HS: 241*, 11 wickets @ 51.54, BBI:3-31

Tendulkar is the only batter to have scored more than three thousand runs in India-Australia Tests. Like Pujara, Tendulkar’s runs are also almost equally divided between India and Australia – 1809 at 53.2 in Australia, 1821 at 56.9 in India.

In 39 matches across 22 years – the most by anyone in India-Australia Tests – he made six hundreds in Australia and five at home. If the 114 in Perth was a breathtaking display of strokes against quality pace on a bouncy track, the cover-drive-less classic of 241 at Sydney was a lesson in patience and temperament.

Allan Border

1567 runs @ 52.33, 9 50s, 4 100s, HS: 163

Border made two hundreds in 11 home Tests, and two more in the nine in India, averaging in excess of 50 in both countries. He shuffled across the middle order, batting at all positions from three to eight, with three being the most productive. Border was captain in 11 of the 20 Tests he played against India and did much better with the added responsibility, averaging in excess of 60 as captain.

Steven Smith

1887 runs @ 65.06, 5 50s, 8 100s, HS: 192

It would be safe to say that Smith loves batting against India, against whom he averages over 80 at home and over 50 at their den.

Touring India in this era has been one of the toughest jobs to do and Smith has excelled at it, with three hundreds in 10 Test matches here. While he has got several bigger hundreds, one of his finest knocks was the 109 on a raging turner in Pune, helping Australia to the rarity of a 333-run win in India.

Rishabh Pant

624 runs @ 62.4, 2 50s, 1 100, HS: 159*

Pant is already the fourth-highest run-getter among wicketkeepers in India-Australia Test matches, and his average of 62.40 is the best for any wicketkeeper who has played 10 innings in these clashes. he had a major role in India’s wins on the 2018/19 and 2020/21 tours, perhaps more in the latter.

His twin, counterattacking nineties in Sydney and Brisbane will go down as two of the most impactful knocks in Test cricket history.

Ravindra Jadeja

522 runs @ 29, 5 50s, HS: 81, 85 wickets @ 18.85, 5 five-fors, BBI: 7-42

Jadeja marginally beats R Ashwin for the spin-bowling all-rounder’s spot. While Ashwin is the highest wicket-taker in India-Australia Tests, Jadeja’s wickets have come at an unbelievable 18.85. The numbers are a bit skewed due to performances in India, but no touring spinner has taken 10 wickets in Australia this century at an average better than his 21.78 either.

Add his batting returns to those numbers – over 500 runs at an average close to 30 – and he becomes one of the greatest, if not the greatest, players in India-Australia Test match history.

Jasprit Bumrah

32 wickets @ 21.25, 1 five-for, BBI: 6-33

Bumrah had a massive impact in India’s two series wins, in 2018/19 and 2020/21. He picked 21 wickets at an average of 17 during the former and 11 more at an average of 29.36 during the latter.

His best spell came at the 2018/19 Boxing Day Test at the MCG, where he picked 6-33. The slower delivery he used to get Shaun Marsh during that spell is talked about even to this day.

Glenn McGrath

51 wickets @ 18.64, 2 five-fors, BBI: 5-48

McGrath took more than 50 wickets at an average under 20 against India despite playing eight of his 11 Tests against them in India. Three home Tests fetched him 18 wickets at an astonishing average of 13.77, while the remaining 33 wickets came in India at an average of 21.30.

His wickets included the cream of the crop of Indian batting – Sachin Tendulkar (six times), VVS Laxman (five), Rahul Dravid (four), Sourav Ganguly (four), and Virender Sehwag (four).

Graham McKenzie

47 wickets @ 20.57, 4 five-fors, BBI: 7-66

‘Garth’ McKenzie played 60 Tests for Australia between 1961 and 1971, and took more Test wickets than anyone in the 1960s.

He took 47 wickets from 10 Tests against India. Like McGrath, most of McKenzie’s matches against India (eight) were away from home. Of touring fast bowlers, only Courtney Walsh has taken more wickets than McKenzie’s 34 at a better average than his 19.26, and he played a pivotal role in Australia’s 1969-70 series win, their last on Indian soil in 35 years.

As if his records in India were not good enough, he was lethal in the two games he played in Australia as well, picking up 10-151 in one and three more wickets in the other one.

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