(Last Updated on : 22/12/2010)
The Indian team played only with the England team, both in home soil and in England, most of the time till the year 1946, when it played and won against the Australian Services XI team. The Indian cricket team then went for its first ever tour in Australia in the season 1947-48 and it was also the first ever Test series between the two teams. The legendary cricketer Lala Amarnath captained the Indian team and it was quite a strong team with the players like Vijay Merchant, Vinoo Mankad, Vijay Hazare, C.S. Nayudu etc included in the team. It was a great tour for India, as the team's captain, Lala Amarnath proved himself to be one of the great captains in the history of Indian cricket. However, the Indian team could not perform well in the tour, as it lost the Test series by 0-4, against Australia.
The Indian cricket team started its first tour in Australia in a very positive note, as the captain of India, Lala Amarnath played a superb innings of 228 runs in the tour match against Victoria. It was defined as "one of the greatest ever played" in Australia, by a recognized member of Bill Woodfull's 1932 Bodyline side, Victor Richardson. In another tour match against the Australia XI, the other legendary Indian player, Vinoo Mankad, who was regarded as the premier slow bowler of the world in his time, bowled brilliantly to get a match figure of 8-84. Mankad's extraordinary bowling helped the Indians to win the match by a huge margin.
The famous Indian batsman, Phadkar made his debut in the tour in Australia and the other batsmen like Hazare, Merchant and the captain Amarnath, were also in a very good form in the tour matches. However, the Indians could not carry on their the wonderful form of the tour matches to the Test matches and as the world's best batsman ever, Donald Bradman was in his best form, the Indian lost the Test series by 0-4. Bradman literally dominated the Indian bowling throughout the tour as he played some brilliant innings like 156 for South Australia, 172 for an Australian XI (his hundredth first class hundred), 185 in the first Test, 132 and 127 not out in the Third Test, 201 in the fourth Test and 57 retired hurt in the fifth, against the Indians.
However, there was still some good news for the Indians in the tour, as the all time great Indian batsman, Vijay Samuel Hazare, played some brilliant knocks to pay something back to the Australians. After losing all the first three Test matches, the Indians once again failed to restrict the Australians to a small score, and the Aussies got a huge total of 674 runs in the first innings of the fourth Test match at Adelaide. In reply to the mammoth total of the Australians, the Indians got a good start from the top order batsmen like Amarnath and Mankad and Mankad played a briskly knock of 46 runs in the innings. However, the Indians could not capitalize on the good start, as they lost some quick wickets and put themselves on a huge pressure, on 133-5.
It was then, when the great batsman Vijay Hazare started to play his own shots and he began the rescue work for India. He played with great determination and kept his head cool, and none of the Aussie bowlers could get rid of Hazare's hammerings in the innings. The then young and promising batsmen of India, Phadkar also accompanied Hazare very well and as a result, the Indians made an unbelievable come back in the innings and ended the day, on 299-5. However, as Hazare and Phadkar got out in the next day on their individual score of 116 runs and 123 runs, respectively, the Indian innings eventually ended on 381 runs.
Hazare once again played a superb innings in the second innings of India in the match, as he again rescued his team from a disastrous start. He came into bat when India was in a very bad position in the match, and he once again played a brilliant knock of 145 runs in the innings. The Australian bowlers failed to restrict him for a small score once again and it was Hazare alone, who became the star of India's second innings that eventually ended on 277-10. The event of Hazare getting the wicket of the world's greatest batsman, Donald Bradman with a brilliant delivery was also another glorious achievement for Hazare in the tour. As a whole, though the tour was not a successful for the Indian team, it is still remembered as one of the most wonderful tours, due to the individual successes of the players like Hazare, Amarnath, Mankad and Phadkar.