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India vs Australia: ‘Can’t wait to get you to the Gabba’

India vs Australia: As far as threats go, Australian captain Tim Paine’s sledge to R Ashwin - “can’t wait to get you to the Gabba” - is a pretty potent one.
The GABBA in Brisbane has not been kind to touring teams. (Getty)
Updated on Jan 14, 2021 09:18 AM IST
By, New Delhi

If there is one cricket stadium touring teams absolutely dread, it’s the Gabba. A contraction of the Woolloongabba suburb of Brisbane where this iconic cricket ground is located, the Gabba is like Australia’s Fort Knox. Venue of the first tied Test in 1960, the Gabba has not witnessed an Australian defeat since 1988. Paine was barely four years old then. Steve Smith was yet to be born. No one has been able to say exactly what makes the Gabba such an obstacle, but it’s generally accepted that tourists find the country’s bounciest pitch and the pressing heat too much to handle.

Most Test series in Australia start at the Gabba, with the express purpose of exposing the touring side to the most difficult conditions they will face, and provide an opportunity for Australia to take the lead immediately.

This time, it’s hosting the final Test of the series; but that’s no relief for India, who are forced to field a desperately scrabbled together XI due to an unprecedented spate of injuries.

A lowdown on what makes the Gabba so special.

# WWWWWWWDWD: Australia in the last 10 Tests at the Gabba. The last two (against Pakistan and Sri Lanka) were innings victories, out of a record 12 innings wins.

Australia’s record at Gabba: Played 62, Won 40, Lost 8, Tied 1, Drawn 13

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# The last time any touring side had won at the Gabba was in November, 1988 when a Viv Richards-led West Indies defeated Australia by nine wickets. Since then, Gabba has hosted 31 Tests of which Australia won 24 and drew 7.

# The Gabba still doesn’t hold the record of the longest single-venue domination in Test history. That belongs to the National Cricket Stadium in Karachi where Pakistan remained undefeated for 34 Tests between 1955 and 2000.

# India’s record at the Gabba: Played 6, Lost 5, Drawn 1. India’s only draw at the Gabba came in the series opener in 2003 when Sourav Ganguly’s 144 helped take a vital 86-run first innings lead.

# Australia’s smallest margin of win by way of runs came against India in 1977, when they won by 16 runs. Set 341 to win, India rode Sunil Gavaskar’s 113 to reach 243/5 but then lost the opener and Madan Lal in the space of nine runs. India were bowled out for 324.

# The current concrete behemoth with randomly coloured seats creating the illusion of a packed stadium is far removed from a once charming ground that had a dogtrack and a small clubhouse with wooden grandstands.

# It was at the Gabba in 1974 that the Dennis Lillee-Jeff Thomson pair first made its mark. Playing only his second match, Thomson returned match figures of 9/105 against England, albeit on a pitch prepared by the Lord Mayor of Brisbane, Alderman Clem Jones, after he had sacked the curator for rolling the pitch sideways.

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