Australian cricket team

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The Australian cricket team is today regarded as the dominant team in world cricket. They have an outstanding recent Test record and in the one day form of the game were World Champions in 1987, 1999 and 2003. They are also the current ICC Test Champions and are regarded by players, coaches and commentators as being almost unbeatable.



Important dates in history of Australian cricket

The 1860s

In 1865 a match was arranged between a team of Aboriginal cricketers and European settlers from various pastoral stations, the indigenous team won. The playing of cricket by indigenous people of the Western District reflected their changing circumstances. At this time there were no formal associations.

The European population gave Aborginal players nicknames; for example, Johnny Mullagh worked at the Mullagh station. Others were referred to by names like Bullocky, Sundown, Dick-a-Dick, and Red Cap. These trivial names demonstrate the poor attitude of the settlers towards the Aboriginal station workers and cricketers.

Thomas Wentworth Wills was a key figure in the development of colonial cricket and Australian Rules Football. In November 1866, Wills became the Captain and Coach of the indigenous cricket team. The very first Australian cricket team that played overseas was the 1868 Aboriginal cricket tour of England.

The 1880s

See also: History of Test cricket (to 1883), History of Test cricket (1884 to 1889)

Test tours

Australia toured England 5 times during the 1880s and played 27 Test matches against them losing 15 of them.

Note: Balls per over: 4. 16 of them were timeless matches while 11 were 3 day Test matches.

List of Australian Test captains in the 1880s

  1. Murdoch
  2. Horan
  3. Massie
  4. Blackham
  5. Scott
  6. McDonnell

List of top Australian Test run scorers in the 1880s

  1. McDonnell 950
  2. Murdoch 860
  3. Bannerman 745

List of top Australian Test wicket takers in the 1880s

  1. Spofforth 94 wickets at an average of 18.41 runs per over
  2. Palmer 78 wickets at an average of 21.51 runs per over

The 1890s

Main article: History of Test cricket (1890 to 1900)

Test tours

Australia toured England 4 times during the 1890s and played 26 Test matches against them. (won 10, lost 10)

Note: Half the Tests had 5 balls per over and half had 6 balls per over. Half of them were 3 day Test matches and half were timeless Test matches.

List of Australian Test captains in the 1890s

  1. Murdoch
  2. Blackham
  3. Giffen
  4. Trott
  5. Darling

List of top Australian Test run scorers in the 1890s

  1. Darling 1139

List of top Australian Test wicket takers in the 1890s

  1. Giffen 74
  2. Trumble 63
  3. Jones 56
  4. Turner 51


Australian team started touring other countries such as South Africa which had Test status (first tour in 1903) and New Zealand for the first time in 1905.

Test tours

Australia toured England 3 times between 1900-1909 and toured South Africa for the first time in 1903. Australia played 33 Test matches in this decade winning 16 of them and losing 9. Most of them were against England and only 3 of them were against South Africa. Test cricket had for the first time gone to Africa. All the Test matches had 6 balls per over. Most of them were 3 day Test matches while 15 of them were timeless Test matches.

  • 1902: 5 Tests in England
  • 1903: First tour of South Africa, 3 Tests
  • 1905: 5 Tests in England
  • 1909: 5 Tests in England

Australian Test captains

The two main Australian Test team captains during this period were Darling and Noble. Both of them had a good captaincy record.

List of top Australian Test run scorers of the period

  1. Victor Trumper 1953
  2. Hill 1930

List of top Australian wicket takers of the period

  1. Noble 89
  2. Saunders 79
  3. Trumble 78


Australia had an interesting tour of England in 1912 in which there were no Test matches but Australia played perhaps all of the county sides. Australia also toured USA in 1913 (again no officially recognised international matches). Needless to say, this was the decade of World War I. Australia did not play a single Test match during this period.

The 1920s

Test tours

Australia toured England twice and South Africa once during this decade. Australia played 28 Test matches during this decade, winning 14 and losing 6. Most of them were against England and only 3 against South Africa. 5 of the Test matches had 8 ball overs. Most of the Test matches were timeless whereas there were 9 three day Test matches and 3 four day Test matches.

  • 1921: 5 Tests in England, 3 tests in South Africa in November
  • 1926: 5 Tests in England

Australian Test captains

The two main Australian Test captains during this decade were Armstrong and Collins. Both of them had a good record.

List of top Australian Test run scorers of the 1920s

  1. Ryder 1394
  2. Collins 1352
  3. Macartney 1252
  4. Gregory 1146

List of top Australian wicket takers of the 1920s

  1. Mailey 99
  2. Gregory 85

The 1930s

Australia toured England thrice and had the first 5 Test tour of South Africa. Australia played 39 Tests in this decade winning 22 and losing 10. Australia also toured India and Ceylon in 1935 but no official international match was played although India got Test status in 1932.

Test tours

  • 1930: 5 Tests in England
  • 1934: 5 Tests in England
  • 1935-1936: First 5 Test tour of South Africa
  • 1938: 4 Tests in England

Australian Test captains

The leading Australian Test captain in this decade was Woodfull. Don Bradman led the Australian team in 9 test matches in this decade.

Australian test batsmen

Don Bradman, regarded by most followers of the game as the greatest batsman to have played the game scored 4625 Test runs in this decade at an average of 102.77 runs per innings with 19 centuries.

Sir Don eclipsed other performances which would have otherwise had been noticed such as McCabe 2748 runs at an average of 48.2 runs per innings.

List of top Australian wickettakers in the 1930s

  • Grimmett 169 wickets at an average of 21.95 runs per innings
  • O'Reilly 136 wickets at an average of 23.68 runs per innings

The 1940s

Test tours

This decade was affected by World War II. Due to this Australia played only 17 Test matches. Their performance was impressive perhaps due to the Don Bradman factor as they won 13 of them and did not lose a single Test match. Most of the victories were against England. Australia were led by Sir Donald Bradman during this period. He scored 1903 runs at an average of 105.72 runs per innings.

  • 1946 Australia's first Test tour of New Zealand (1 test)
  • 1948 5 Test tour of England
  • 1949 - 1950 5 Test tour of South Africa

Australian Test bowlers

  • Ray Lindwall 70 wickets at an average of 19.17 runs per wicket.
  • Johnston 54 wickets at an average of 18.51 runs per over.

The 1950s

Australia played 57 Test matches, won 29 and lost 12 of them. England was no longer the prime opponent. Australia played 13 Test matches against South Africa and 10 against West Indies. Most of the Tests during this period were played with 8 ball overs and 5 day Test matches although Australia also played 22 six day Test matches. Australian Test captains were Hassett, Johnson and the popular Richie Benaud who had an exceptional record during this period. Australia's leading runscorer in this decade was Harvey with 4573 runs at an average of 50.25 runs per innings while the leading wickettaker was Richie Benaud with 165 wickets at an average of 23.95

Test tours

The 1960s

Most of the Test matches played had 6 ball overs and were 5 day Test matches as is the standardised format today. Australia also toured Rhodesia and New Zealand in 1967 although no official international match was played. Richie Benaud captained Australia in 18 Test matches, Bob Simpson in 29 and Bill Lawry in 16. Lawry was the leading Test batsman. He scored 4717 Test runs at an average of 49.65 runs per innings while McKenzie was the leading Test wicket taker with 238 test wickets.

Test tours

  • 1961 5 Tests in England
  • 1964 5 Tests in England
  • 1964 3 Tests in India
  • 1964 1 Test in Pakistan
  • 1965 5 Tests in West Indies
  • 1966-1967 5 Tests in South Africa
  • 1968 5 Tests in England
  • 1969 5 Tests in India

The 1970s

The 1970s were a controversial time in Australian cricket, with many players signing with businessman Kerry Packer's rival World Series Cricket competition. The decade produced many of the stars of Australian cricket history, including wicket-keeper Rod Marsh and fast bowlers Dennis Lillee and Jeff Thompson. The Chappell brothers - Greg, Ian and Trevor - all represented Australia during this period as well.

The 1980s

Australian cricket during the 1980s was comparatively unsuccessful, particularly following the retirement of players such as Marsh and Lillee. Queenslander Allan Border, rated as one of the finest middle-order players in history, took over as captain and attempted a re-building process. For quite some time, the common wisdom was that Australia's score in an innings would be "Border plus 100". Border achieved the feat of scoring more than 150 runs in both innings of a Test during a tour of Pakistan during this decade.
As the decade continued, a number of talented players made their debuts and established themselves in the team. Among these were fast bowlers such as Craig McDermott and Carl Rackemann, wicket keeper Ian Healy, brothers Steve and Mark Waugh and batsman Dean Jones. Cult heroes such as overweight Tasmanian batsman David Boon and Victorian bowler "Swervin'" Merv Hughes (whose pre-bowling warm up routine was copied by fans around the stadiums) also earned places in the team.
In the closing years of the 1980s, Australia won back the Ashes from England and began an era of dominance in that series which has not yet ended. In 1989, Australia and India played out only the second tie in Test history, with Jones producing a famous double-century innings in sapping heat.

The 1990s

Note: This page shall also refer to Australian women's national cricket team, and junior teams (representing Australia) but unless explicitly mentioned, it refers to the senior (main) national cricket team

The 1990's saw the dawn and twilight of many well-known Australian cricketers. Shane Warne became a household name during the 1993 Ashes tour, Allan Border retired after playing South Africa at Durban in 1994, Glenn McGrath became famous as a metronome (and as a rabbit) during the 1994-95 tour of the West Indies, Ricky Ponting came onto the scene with 96 against Sri Lanka during 1995-96, Craig McDermott was forced to retire during the 1996-97 season, while Brett Lee appeared at the turn of the century. Meanwhile, Australian cricket was run by three captains, Allan Border, Mark Taylor and Steve Waugh.

Australia continued to assert their dominance over The Ashes during the 1990's, won the unofficial 'world championship' prize from West Indies during 1994-95 and began a long winning streak in 1999, both in one-day internationals and tests. The only venues where Australia struggled were India and Sri Lanka.

The 2000s

The captain is Ricky Ponting, taking over before the 2004 tour of Sri Lanka that was won 3-0. Later in the year, they won in India for the first time in 35 years, their only loss coming in a dead rubber.

The 2004-2005 Summer season in Australia was against the touring Pakistani cricket team. Australia won this series convincingly, several matches ending on the 4th day (of 5). The first test of 2005 ended with: AUS 568 and 1/62 v PAK 304 and 325; Ponting made 207 in the first innings, laying to rest the (media) issue of him not making a test 100 in his first season as captain.

The 2005 Ashes tour to England started less successfully, with four defeats in one week to England in a Twenty20 match, Somerset in a warm up match, and then Bangladesh and England in successive One Day Internationals.

External links

  • PhotoSydney: Sport ( - examines cricket's place in Australian society

See also

Template:National cricket teams


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