The Boxing day Test is a Test match held in Melbourne on 26th December, every year.
It is a historical game, and the sides involved look at the Test as a big event.
The crowds turn up in large numbers for the game, and with a capacity like Melbourne, the games are nothing short of a festival.
The first Boxing day Test was played back in 1950, between England and Australia.
It was a good match, with Australia winning by 28 runs.
India played their first Boxing Day Test in 1985, as the game ended in a draw.
Over the years, there have been many changes throughout Melbourne.
The pitch is no longer a traditional surface, as drop-in pitches are implemented, and Melbourne is seen as a feast for batsmen.
India has been a part of eight boxing day Tests and has won just one of them.
With the ninth Boxing Day Test in Australia for India, which is to start soon, let us look at how India fared in their last five Tests on the occasion.
2003, Australia won by nine wickets:
Leading 1-0, India came into the Boxing Day Test after taking the lead in Australia for the first time.
The series started with a lot of promise, and Rahul Dravid put up an epic performance in Adelaide to help India win.
India batted first at Melbourne and got a decent score on the board.
They finished with 366, but the batsmen couldn’t convert their starts throughout the innings.
Virender Sehwag scored a magnificent 195 and was the only player to cross fifty in the first innings.
In response, Australia made 558, with Matthew Hayden making a century and Ricky Ponting scoring 257.
Australia batted India out of the game, and India could only score 288 in the second innings.
With a relatively low score, Australia was given a target of 95.
The target was achieved easily as Australia leveled the series.
2007, Australia won by 337 runs:
In 2007, the Australian Test series started with the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne.
The 2007-2008 Australia tour was a famous one for many reasons and was a closely fought series.
While the series was closely fought, the Boxing Day Test was rather one-sided, as India’s batting couldn’t rise to the occasion.
Australia batted first and put up a competitive 343 on the board.
The openers built a good partnership, with Matthew Hayden making a superb century.
Australia couldn’t capitalize on the start, as they lost wickets at regular intervals and were bowled out for lower than expected.
India didn’t do a great job with the bat, as they were bowled out for 196.
Sachin Tendulkar was in right touch but could only manage 62, while his teammates couldn’t support him much.
After conceding a lead, the bowlers struggled to dismiss the Australians early, as they played well to declare at 351.
With a target of 499, the chase looked unlikely, and India folded for 161, with Mitchell Johnson taking three wickets.
2011, Australia won by 122 runs:
Like in 2007, the disastrous tour of Australia in 2011 began in Melbourne.
The first innings didn’t look too bad, as India managed to bowl Australia out for 333.
They didn’t allow any batsman to hang around and put up a big score.
Zaheer Khan picked up four wickets, and the only struggle India had was with the tail, as they added some vital runs in the end.
India started promisingly during their turn, with half-centuries from Virender Sehwag, Sachin Tendulkar, and Rahul Dravid.
They seemed on course to get close to Australia’s score, but a middle-order collapse saw India fall short by 51 runs.
Despite conceding a lead, India managed to stay in the game with a beautiful bowling effort in the second innings.
Australia was bowled out for 240 runs, with Michael Hussey’s 89 the highest.
Umesh Yadav was the star bowler, taking four wickets.
With an achievable 292 to get, India was still in the game.
James Pattinson, however, bowled well along with Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus.
India lost early wickets, and the chase was dented, as they were all-out for 169 runs.
The closest India got to winning a Test that series, as the next three matches saw some significant defeats.
The 2014 Boxing Day Test is one of the closest Tests between the two sides.
With Mitchell Johnson at his best, Australia had a strong side, and Steve Smith was growing rapidly.
On the other hand, India lost a Test series in England, and the 4-0 defeat was still fresh on the Indian’s minds.
India lost the first two Tests as well, despite both being closely fought.
Batting first on a good batting surface, Australia put up 530 on the board, and things didn’t look good for India.
Steve Smith enjoyed the first two Tests and followed with a high-class 192.
In response, India started decently but was three down very soon in the innings.
After being reduced to 3-147, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane put together an excellent partnership.
The two young batsmen added 262 and put up one of the finest displays in Australia.
They countered the bowling well and took the attack to Mitchell Johnson, who was in monstrous form.
Ajinkya Rahane made 147, while Virat Kohli finished with 169.
The partnership helped India get close to Australia’s score as they finished with 465.
The bowling continued to struggle in the second innings, as Australia scored 318 in quick time, losing nine wickets.
Shaun Marsh made 99.
With 384 to chase in not too many overs, India managed to play out a draw.
There was another partnership between Rahane and Kohli, and the Test finished with Dhoni and Ashwin blocking deliveries towards the end.
The Test was Dhoni’s last as he announced his retirement shortly after.
It was a closely contested game, with magnificent centuries from future stars, and the Test finished in a well-fought draw.
2018, India won by 137 runs:
Coming into the third Test with the series level, India’s side looked like it had every chance of retaining the Border-Gavaskar trophy and their first series in Australia.
Batting first, India played patiently and took nearly two days to score 443 runs.
Pujara made a century, while Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and debutant Mayank Agarwal made half-centuries.
Jasprit Bumrah took six wickets in Australia’s innings to bowl them out for 151.
None of the Australians could get off to a start, as the batting crumbled.
India chose to bat again and went intending to score quick runs.
They lost wickets early, going for shots, but managed to get to 106 before declaring after losing eight wickets.
Australia was set a target of 399.
Though Australia batted better in the second innings, they fell short of the target by 137 runs.
Pat Cummins made a fighting half-century, but the Indian bowlers combined well to pick up wickets regularly.
The win sealed the series for India and gave India its first series win in Australia.
It is also the first time India won a Boxing Day Test in Australia.