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Australia Cricket Team

Australia Cricket Team: History, Fun Facts, Match Schedule, Honors

The Australia men's national cricket team represents Australia in men's international cricket. As the joint-oldest team in Test cricket that played their first-ever Test match in 1877, the team also plays One Day International (ODI) and Twenty20 International (T20I) cricket. The team participated in both the first ODI, against England in the 1970–71 season, and the first T20I, against New Zealand in the 2004–05 season. It is the most successful team in Test cricket history in terms of overall wins, win-loss ratio and the win percentage.

Australia is the most successful team in ODI cricket history too, winning more than 60% of their matches. They have made a record seven World Cup final appearances and have won the biggest ODI tournament a record five times: 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015.

The Australian cricket team has rivalries with other Test-playing nations, most notably with England, their opponent in the famous Ashes series. The rivalries with India, South Africa and New Zealand have also gained prominence in recent times. As on 1 Dec. 2020, Australia is ranked first in Tests, fourth in ODIs and second in T20Is rankings. Tim Paine is the current Test captain while Aaron Finch is the ODI and T20I captain of the team.

Table Of Content

Timeline

Early Years and the Birth of the Ashes

The Australian cricket team participated in the first Test match at the MCG in 1877, defeating England by 45 runs. Charles Bannerman made the first-ever Test century. Test cricket was played only between Australia and England until 1889. Despite Australia's much smaller population, the team was very competitive in its early games.

A highlight of Australia's early history was the 1882 Test match against England at The Oval. In this match, Fred Spofforth took 7wickets for 44 runs in the fourth innings to save the match by preventing England from achieving their 85-run target. After this match The Sporting Times, a major newspaper in London at the time, printed a mock obituary in which the death of English cricket was proclaimed and the announcement made that "the body was cremated and the ashes were taken to Australia." This was the start of the famous Ashes series. To this day, this contest is one of the fiercest rivalries in sport.

The Bradman Era

The country produced many outstanding batsmen who led Australia to become the dominant cricketing nation in its early years in the sport. The 1930 Ashes tour in England brought a new age of success for the Australian team. The team, led by Bill Woodfull, including some legends of the game, as well as a young boy named Don Bradman. Bradman was the outstanding batsman of the series, scoring a record 974 runs including one century, two double centuries and one triple century, which was a massive score of 334.

The 1932–33 England tour of Australia is considered one of the most infamous episodes of cricket and is referred to as ‘The Bodyline Series.’ The tactic, although effective, was widely considered by Australian crowds as vicious and unsporting. Injuries to Bill Woodfull and Bert Oldfield (the latter had his skull fractured) worsened the situation. The series ended in a 4–1 win for England but the bodyline tactics used were banned the year after.

Sir Donald Bradman is widely considered the greatest batsman of all time. He dominated the sport from 1930 until his retirement in 1948, setting new records for the highest score in a Test innings (334 vs. England at Headingley in 1930), the most career runs (6996), the most centuries (29), the most double centuries and the highest Test and first-class batting averages. His record for the highest Test batting average – 99.94 – has never been beaten. He would have finished with an average of over 100 runs per innings if he had scored just 4 runs in the last Test innings of his career but he was dismissed for a duck in that. He was knighted in 1949 for his services to cricket. He is generally considered one of Australia's greatest sporting heroes.

Post-World War II Era

Australia played their first Test against New Zealand in the 1945–46 season. They were by far the most successful team of the 1940s, being undefeated throughout the decade, winning two Ashes series against England and their first Test series against India. The team that Don Bradman led against England in 1948 gained the moniker The Invincibles after going through the tour without losing a single game. They won the five-match Test series 4–0, with one draw. The tour was particularly notable for the fourth Test of the series, in which Australia won by seven wickets chasing a target of 404, setting a new record for the highest run chase in Test cricket. The tour is also remembered for the final Test in the series, Bradman's last, where he finished with a duck in his last innings after needing only four runs to secure a career average of 100.

Australia were less successful in the 1950s, losing three consecutive Ashes series to England, including a horrendous 1956 tour of England. Jimmy Laker took 19 wickets in a Test, including all ten wickets in one innings, a game dubbed Laker's Match.

However, the team rebounded to win five consecutive series in the latter half of the 1950s. The series against the West Indies in the 1960–61 season was notable for the first-ever tied Test, at the Gabba. Richie Benaud captained Australia in 28 Tests, including 24 without defeat during that time. Alan Davidson, who was a notable fast-bowler, became the first player to take 10 wickets and make 100 runs in the same Test match.

World Series Cricket Era

The Centenary Test was played in March 1977 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first-ever Test played. Australia won the match by 45 runs, a result identical to that of the first Test match.

In May 1977, Kerry Packer announced he was organizing a breakaway competition – the World Series Cricket (WSC) – after the Australian Cricket Board (ACB) refused to accept Channel Nine's bid to gain exclusive television rights to Australia's Test matches in 1976. Packer secretly signed leading international cricketers to his competition, including 28 Australians. Almost all the members of the Australian Test team at the time were signed to the WSC and the Australian selectors were forced to pick what was generally considered a third-rate team. Australia lost the 1978–79 Ashes series 5–1, the team's worst Ashes result in Australia. The WSC players returned to the team for the 1979–80 season after a settlement between the ACB and Kerry Packer. Greg Chappell was reinstated as captain of the Australian team.

The infamous underarm bowling incident of 1981 occurred when, in an ODI against New Zealand, Greg Chappell instructed his brother Trevor to bowl an underarm delivery, with New Zealand needing a six to tie off the last ball. The aftermath of the incident soured relations between Australia and New Zealand, with people calling it "unsportsmanlike" and "not in the spirit of cricket."

The 1980s were a period of relative mediocrity after the turmoil caused by the rebel tours of South Africa and the subsequent retirement of several key players. Many players were handed three-year suspensions by the Australian Cricket Board, which greatly weakened the player pool for the national side, as most of the suspended players were current representative players or on the verge of gaining honours.

The Golden Era

The golden era of Australian cricket occurred around the end of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century. Australian cricket recovered from the disruption caused by the World Series Cricket to create arguably the strongest Test team in history.

Under the captaincy of Allan Border, the team was gradually built from cricketing stocks. Some of the rebel players returned to the national side after serving their suspensions. During these lean years, it was the batsmen Border, David Boon, Dean Jones, young Steve Waugh and the bowlers Craig McDermott and Merv Hughes, among others, who kept the Australian side afloat.

With the emergence of players such as Ian Healy, Mark Taylor, Geoff Marsh, and Mark Waugh in the late 1980s, Australia continued its rise in world cricket. Border was instrumental in guiding a young Australian team to World Cup glory in 1987. With the retirement of the champion but defensive player Allan Border, a new era of attacking cricket began under the leadership of Mark Taylor and then Steve Waugh.

The 1990s and 2000s were arguably Australia's most successful periods as they remained unbeaten in all the Ashes series played during this period except the famous 2005 series, and achieved a hat-trick of World Cup wins. This success has been attributed to the restructuring of the team and system by Border, successive aggressive captains, and the effectiveness of several key players like Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting.

The Post-Golden Era

Following the 2006–07 Ashes series, which Australia won 5-0, several key players like McGrath, Langer and Warne retired from Test cricket. Australia slipped down the Test rankings after that. In March 2014, Australia beat South Africa, the number 1 team in the world, 2–1 and overtook them to return to the top of the rankings. In 2015, Australia won the World Cup for a record fifth time, under the leadership of Michael Clarke. They lost just one game in the whole tournament. Emergence of players such as David Warner, Steve Smith and Pat Cummins has made Australia one of the strongest teams today.

2018 Ball-Tampering Incident

On 25 March 2018, during the third Test match against South Africa, Australian players Cameron Bancroft, Steve Smith, David Warner and the leadership group of the team were implicated in a ball-tampering scandal. Smith and Bancroft admitted to trying to alter the condition of the ball by rubbing it with sandpaper. Smith stated that the purpose was to gain an advantage by unlawfully changing the ball's surface in order to generate reverse swing.

Steve Smith and David Warner stood down as captain and vice captain respectively during the third Test while head coach, Darren Lehmann, resigned from his position after the series. Smith and Warner were both stripped of their captaincy roles and sent home from the tour (along with Bancroft). Cricket Australia then suspended Smith and Warner from playing for 12 months and Bancroft for 9 months. Smith and Bancroft were banned from leadership roles for 12 months from their return after the suspension, while Warner was banned from leadership of any Cricket Australia team for life.

20 Fun Facts About the Australia Cricket Team

Here are a few things that most people do not know about the Australian cricket team. Some of these might astonish even cricket-crazy fans.

  • Australia is the only country to have hosted a seven-match Test series, the 1970-71 Ashes.
  • Test matches in Australia used to have 8-ball overs until 1979.
  • Australia is the only team in cricket history to have won a Test series after trailing 0-2.
  • Sir Donald Bradman, considered to be the greatest batsman to have ever played the game, has hit only 6 sixes in his whole career.
  • The Lord's is considered the spiritual home of cricket, where Australia had remained unbeaten in Test cricket for 75 years before losing in 2009.
  • Australia is the only country to win its first-ever Test match, One Day International, and T20 international match.
  • Colored clothing, white balls, the digital scorecard and black sight screens were introduced by the Australian cricket team.
  • Australia introduced the concept of tri-nation ODI tournaments, in 1979, as well as day-night ODI matches.
  • The Australian cricket team was part of the first tied match in both ODI and Test cricket. In fact, it was part of both the tied Tests.
  • Australia was the first country to introduce day-night Test cricket, in 2015, and it is unbeaten in the eight day-night Test matches played so far.
  • Australia is the second nation to play 800 Test matches. It achieved that milestone on the day after the 140th anniversary of the first-ever Test.
  • Australia is the only team to win the World Cup on all the 5 major continents : Asia, America, Europe, Africa, and Australia.
  • While no other team has won more than 11 Tests in a row, Australia has won 16 consecutive Tests twice.
  • Australian Test captains Steve Waugh, Mark Taylor, and Allan Border led the team in their last Test matches before retiring.
  • The Australian cricket team is part of the Ashes, a 138-years old contest with England. It won the Oval Test of 1882, which led to the obituary from which the series derives its name.
  • Australia is the only nation to have whitewashed every single opposition at least once in a series.
  • With a 50-Test cut-off, Australia’s win-loss ratio of 4.63 at the Gabba (37 wins, 8 defeats in 59 Tests) is the highest for any country at any ground.
  • The term ‘sledging’ is considered to have been coined in Australia during the 1964 Ashes.
  • The Australian cricket team sings the team song “Under the Southern Cross” every time it wins a Test match.
  • One of the players is the custodian of the team song. When the custodian of the song retires or is appointed captain, he has to pass on the song to an heir. Nathan Lyon is the current custodian of the song.

Match Schedule

Check out all about the biggest international series and cricket tours of the Australian cricket team here.

India’s Tour of Australia 2020/21

India travels to Australian shores for a full tour comprising 3 ODIs, 3 T20Is, and 4 Tests. Read more here.

More Series Coming Soon

Tournament Records

World Cup

Year Position
1975 Runners-up
1979 Group stage
1983 Group stage
1987 Champions
1992 Group stage
1996 Runners-up
1999 Champions
2003 Champions
2007 Champions
2011 Quarter-finalists
2015 Champions
2019 Semi-finalists

T20 World Cup

Year Position
2007 Semi-finalists
2009 Group stage
2010 Runners-up
2012 Semi-finalists
2014 Super 10s
2016 Super 10s

Champions Trophy

Year Position
1998 Quarter-finalists
2000 Quarter-finalists
2002 Semi-finalists
2004 Semi-finalists
2006 Champions
2009 Champions
2013 Group stage
2017 Group stage

Honors

World Cup

Winners (5 times): 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007, 2015

Champions Trophy

Winners (2 times): 2006, 2009

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Match Statistics

Test

Opponent Matches Won Lost Tied Drawn
Bangladesh 6 5 1 0 0
England 351 110 146 95 0
India 98 42 28 27 1
New Zealand 57 31 8 180 0
Pakistan 64 31 15 18 0
South Africa 98 52 26 20 0
Sri Lanka 29 17 4 8 0
West Indies 116 58 32 25 1
Zimbabwe 3 3 0 0 0
Total 882 349 260 211 2
Player Matches Runs Average Highest Score 100s
Ricky Ponting 168 13378 51.85 257 41
Allan Border 156 11174 50.56 205 27
Steve Waugh 168 10927 51.06 200 32
Michael Clarke 115 8643 49.10 329* 28
Matthew Hayden 103 8625 50.73 380 30
Mark Waugh 128 8029 41.81 153* 20
Justin Langer 105 7696 45.27 250 23
Mark Taylor 104 7525 43.65 334* 19
David Boon 107 7422 43.65 200 21
David Warner 84 7244 48.94 335* 24
Player Matches Wickets Average Best Bowling 10W/5W
Shane Warne 145 708 25.41 8/71 10/27
Glenn McGrath 124 563 21.64 8/24 3/29
Nathan Lyon 96 390 31.58 8/50 3/18
Dennis Lillee 70 355 23.92 7/83 7/23
Mitchell Johnson 73 313 28.40 8/61 3/12
Brett Lee 76 310 30.81 5/30 0/10
Craig McDermott 71 291 28.63 8/97 2/14
Jason Gillespie 71 259 26.13 7/37 0/8
Richie Benaud 63 248 27.03 7/72 1/16
Garth McKenzie 60 246 29.78 8/71 3/16

ODIs

Opponent Matches Won Lost Tied No Result
Afghanistan 3 3 0 0 0
Bangladesh 21 19 1 0 1
England 152 84 63 2 3
India 143 80 53 0 10
Ireland 5 4 0 0 1
New Zealand 138 92 39 0 7
Pakistan 104 68 32 1 3
South Africa 103 48 51 3 1
Sri Lanka 97 61 32 0 4
West Indies 140 74 60 3 3
Zimbabwe 30 27 2 0 1
Total 936 560 333 9 34
Player Matches Runs Average Highest Score 100s
Ricky Ponting 374 13589 41.81 164 29
Adam Gilchrist 286 9595 35.93 172 16
Mark Waugh 244 8500 39.35 173 18
Michael Clarke 245 7981 44.58 130 8
Steve Waugh 325 7569 32.9 120* 3
Michael Bevan 232 6912 53.58 108* 6
Allan Border 273 6524 30.62 127* 3
Matthew Hayden 160 6131 44.1 181* 10
Dean Jones 164 6068 44.61 145 7
David Boon 181 5964 37.04 122 5
Player Matches Wickets Average Best Bowling 5W/4W
Glenn McGrath 249 380 21.83 7/15 7/9
Brett Lee 221 380 23.36 5/22 9/14
Shane Warne 193 291 25.82 5/33 1/12
Mitchell Johnson 153 239 25.26 6/31 3/9
Craig McDermott 138 203 24.71 5/44 1/4
Steve Waugh 325 195 34.67 4/33 0/3
Mitchell Starca 96 184 23.16 6/28 7/11
Nathan Bracken 116 174 24.36 5/24 2/5
Shane Watson 190 168 31.79 4/36 0/3
Brad Hogg 123 156 26.84 5/32 2/3

T20Is

Opponent Matches Won Lost No Result
Bangladesh 4 4 0 0
England 19 10 8 1
India 23 9 13 1
Ireland 1 1 0 0
New Zealand 9 7 2 0
Pakistan 23 9 13 1
South Africa 21 13 8 0
Sri Lanka 16 8 8 0
West Indies 11 5 6 0
Zimbabwe 3 2 1 0
Total 130 68 59 3
Player Matches Runs Average Highest Score 100s/50s
David Warner 81 2265 31.45 100* 1/18
Aaron Finch 66 2149 37.7 172 2/12
Glenn Maxwell 67 1687 33.07 145* 3/8
Shane Watson 58 1462 29.24 124* 1/10
Cameron White 47 984 32.8 85* 0/5
Steve Smith 45 794 27.37 90 0/4
David Hussey 39 756 22.9 88* 0/4
Michael Hussey 38 721 37.94 60* 0/4
D’Arcy Short 23 642 30.57 76 0/4
Player Matches Wickets Average Best Bowling 5W/4W
Shane Watson 58 48 24.72 4/15 0/1
Mitchell Starc 35 47 19.38 3/11 0/0
Adam Zampa 36 39 21.23 3/14 0/0
Andrew Tye 28 39 22.89 4/23 0/1
Mitchell Johnson 30 38 20.97 3/15 0/0
Pat Cummins 30 37 20.62 3/15 0/0
James Faulkner 24 36 19 5/27 1/0
Nathan Coulter-Nile 28 34 23.58 4/31 0/1
Ashton Agar 27 30 20.86 5/24 1/0
Glenn Maxwell 67 29 26.65 3/10 0/0

Current Squad

Aaron
Finch

David
Warner

Steve
Smith

Will
Pucovski

Travis
Head

Marnus
Labuschagne

Joe
Burns

Tim
Paine

Alex
Carey

Matthew
Wade

Marcus
Stoinis

Glen
Maxwell

Moses
Heriques

Daniel
Sams

Mitchell
Marsh

Cameron
Green

Ashton
Agar

Nathan
Lyon

Adam
Zampa

Mitchell
Swepson

Pat
Cummins

Josh
Hazlewood

Mitchell
Starc

Sean
Abbott

Kane
Richardson

Andrew
Tye

Jhye
Richardson

James
Pattinson