The Australian national cricket team is one of the two oldest teams in Test cricket today. They played their first ever Test match in 1877, ODI against England in the 1970-71 season, and Twenty20 International (T20I) against New Zealand in the 2004-05 season. Interestingly, Australia won their first Test, ODI and T20 matches.
Australia have been the most successful team in Test and ODI cricket history. They have played 820 Test matches, of which they have won 386, lost 222, and drawn 210; two matches ended in a tie. In ODIs, they have played 932 matches, won 566 of them, lost 323, and tied nine; 34 matches ended without any result. On 12 January 2019, when Australia won the first ODI of their series against India at the Sydney Cricket Ground by 34 runs, they recorded their 1,000th win in international cricket.
Australia have also won the ICC Champions Trophy twice (2006 and 2009) which makes them the first and only team to become back-to-back winners in Champions Trophy tournaments.
The Australian national team have played 116 Twenty20 International matches so far, of which they have won 60, lost 52, and tied two; two matches ended without a result. As of May 2019, Australia were fourth in the ICC T20I rankings with 261 rating points. They also made the finals of the 2010 ICC World Twenty20 where they lost to England.
Australia in ICC World Cups
Australia hold the record of making seven World Cup final appearances (1975, 1987, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015) and winning the World Cup trophy five times (1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015).
They are also the only team to have appeared in four consecutive World Cup finals (1996, 1999, 2003 and 2007). They broke the record of three consecutive World Cup final appearances by the West Indies (1975, 1979 and 1983). Also, they are the only team to have won three consecutive World Cups (1999, 2003 and 2007).
The Australian team at one time had an unbeaten streak of 34 World Cup matches. This streak was snapped when Pakistan beat them by 4 wickets on 19 March 2011. Besides India, Australia are the only other team to have won a World Cup on home soil (2015). India had achieved this feat in 2011.
Australia won their first World Cup under the captaincy of Allan Border in 1987. In 1999, they won the second World Cup with Steve Waugh as captain. Ricky Pointing led the team to the glory twice – in 2003 and 2007. In 2015, Michael Clarke-led Australia won the title for a fifth time. In ICC World Cup 2019, the kangaroos would look to defend their title with Aaron Finch as the skipper.
Australia’s rich cricket history
The Australian cricket team participated in the first Test match at the MCG in 1877, defeating an English team by 45 runs. In an 1882 Test match against England at The Oval, Australia’s Fred Spofforth took 7/44 in the game's fourth innings to save the match by preventing England from chasing an 85-run target. After this match, The Sporting Times, a major newspaper in London at the time, had printed a mock obituary proclaiming the death of English cricket and announcing "the body was cremated and the ashes taken to Australia”. This was the start of the famous Ashes series, in which Australia and England play a series of Test matches to decide the holder of the Ashes. To this day, the contest is one of the fiercest rivalries in sport.
The Australian cricket team consistently dominated Test cricket around the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century. Australia did not play any series for eight years from 1912 due to World War I.
The 1930 tour of England heralded a new age of success for the Australian team with the emergence of Sir Donald Bradman, who scored a record 974 runs, including one century, two double centuries and a triple century, a massive score of 334 at Leeds, including 309 runs in a day. The team, widely considered unstoppable, won nine of their next ten Tests.
Bradman dominated the sport from 1930 until his retirement in 1948. His record for the highest Test batting average of 99.94 remains unbeaten to this day. He would have finished with an average of over 100 runs per innings if he had not been dismissed for a duck in his final Test. He was knighted in 1949 for his services to cricket.
Australia were the most successful team of the 1940s, too, having stayed undefeated throughout the decade, winning two Ashes series against England and their first Test series against India. They were less successful in the 1950s, losing three consecutive Ashes series to England, including the horrendous 1956 Tour of England. However, the team sprang back to win five consecutive series in the latter half of the 1950s. The Centenary Test was played in March 1977 at the MCG to celebrate 100 years since the first Test being played. Australia won the match by 45 runs, in a result identical to that of the first ever Test match.
The 1990s and early 2000s were arguably the most successful period for Australia. They won all but one (2005) series played during this period and achieved a hat-trick of World Cups. This success is often attributed to Border, who restructured the team and system, besides successive aggressive captains and a string of effective players, most notably Glenn McGrath, Shane Warne, Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Steve Waugh, Adam Gilchrist, Michael Hussey and Ricky Ponting.
In the 2013-14 Ashes series, Australia again defeated England 5-0. In 2015, Australia won the World Cup, losing just one game in the tournament.