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Everything to know about the Australian Tri Series

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The Australian Tri Series is a premier tournament hosted by Cricket Australia. This is a triangular round-robin series, and the final features the best match between the two best teams. There are three teams participating in this cricket tournament.

At the time of writing this article, Australia had won the most titles (21). It should be noted the bulk of the Australian Tri Series were played during the heyday of Australian cricket. Please continue reading this cricket article.

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Brief background

The origin of the Australian Tri Series lies in Kerry Packer's World Series. This tournament, which created a schism in international cricket, featured three teams — Australia, West Indies, and Rest of the World. The World Series basically had an ODI format, and this format continued well into the Australian Tri Series.

When the Packer's World Series ended in 1979, Cricket Australia adapted the same model. Now the only difference was there were three teams, and the only constant was the Australian national cricket team. There was no Rest of the World team now.

In its earlier phase, the Tri Series had 50-over matches. But since 2018, it has become a T20 tournament. This change is in tune with the evolution going on in global cricket.

The Tri Series was abandoned as a regular fixture from 2008 until 2011. However, Australia still played ODIs against the other teams. It should be noted that the Commonwealth Bank of Australia still held the naming rights of these matches in that period.

The Tri Series made a comeback in the 2011-12 season. However, this format wasn't of a permanent nature. In 2014-15, the Australian Tri Series comprised seven matches, out of which one was the final.

Over the years, the Australian Tri Series has sported several names. These are Benson and Hedges, Carlton and United Series, Victoria Bitter Series, Commonwealth Bank Series, and Gillette Series. Let's understand the format of this tournament in the next section.

Format of the Australian Tri-series

While the basic format of this Series has remained constant, some specific rules have changed over the years.

  • From 1981 to 1986, each team played 5 matches in the tournament. This rule made a comeback in the 1998-1999 Series.
  • In 1980-91, and 1981-82, the finals consisted the best of five.
  • There was only once when a quadrangular was played, and that was during 1994-95. In that series, Australia and Australia A played against the other two sides.
  • It was only in 2004-05 that each team played the others thrice in a round-robin format.
  • The 2014-15 Series was the only time when each team played the others twice. In that Series, there was solitary final.

Now, let's read about some key moments in this tournament.

Milestones in the Australian Tri Series

1979-80

West Indies won this Series after beating England in the finals. Viv Richards scored the most runs (485), while Dennis Lillee was the highest wicket taker (20 wickets). The match between Australia and West Indies was the first ever ODI in cricket history. It was in this Series that red and white balls were used in different venues.

1980-81

Australia were the winners of this tournament after beating arch rivals New Zealand. India took up the third place. Once again, Dennis Lillee took the maximum wickets (25), while Greg Chapell (686) was the highest run getter.

It was a keenly contested final between both teams. New Zealand wanted six runs from the last ball, but they were thwarted by an underarm delivery by Trevor Chapell. In subsequent matches, all underarm deliveries were declared No Ball.

1981-82

The West Indians once again proved their mastery of the game by defeating Australia in the finals. Pakistan took the third spot. Vivian Richards (536) and Joel Garner (24) were the top players on this Series.

This Series generated a huge controversy in the media. Australia won the final qualifying match against WI on the basis of a superior NRR. This match didn't last the full 50 overs because of rains. However, the final was won by West Indies. The Australian media alleged that the West Indies had lost the match to help the Aussies reach the finals ahead of the Pakistanis. Clive Lloyd, who was unwell and skipped the qualifier, filed a libel case against The Age. He won that case and received $100,000 as damages from the newspaper.

1982-83

Australia once again denied victory to the New Zealanders in this epic series. Despite taking the third spot, Englishmen David Gower and Ian Botham became the top batsman and the top bowler, respectively.

New Zealand created a world record in this Series when they successfully chased 297-6 in response to England's 296-5 at Adelaide. This record stood intact until 1992.

1983-84

West Indies got the better of Australia in this Series. Kepler Wessels was the highest scorer in the 1983-84series. On the other hand, Michael Holding of West Indies took the maximum wickets (27). Pakistan took the third spot in this tournament.

The first ever ODI tie happened in this series only after Carl Rackmann was run out while attempting the winning run.

1984-85

West Indies was the first team to enter the finals after winning all the 10 qualifying matches. Though it lost to Australia in the first final, the West Indies won the next two fixtures and won the series 2-1.

1985-86

This series rankles the Aussies even today. In the final match, the Kiwis beat the Kangaroos by scoring 206 runs. The latter could score only 70 runs. This is the worst loss suffered by any Australian side in the ODI format.

1986-1987

West Indies, 4-time Tri Series champions could not reach the finals for the first time. England beat the Kangaroos 2-0 and clinched the title. The Englishmen also won the Ashes Trophy for the same year.

1988-1989

Desmond Haynes powered his team for a dramatic victory over the Aussies by hitting Steve Waugh for a six. Aussie fans did not like the result and booed loudly. The ICC later changed the rules for interrupted matches.

Conclusion

Though not as famous as the Ashes, the Australian Tri Series still dishes out some serious excitement to cricket lovers. Since India has won the tournament only once (2007-08), the excitement has reached the desired levels. However, we hope that the 20-20 format will draw in more viewers and advertisers to the Tri Series.


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Gian Chacko

Sports enthusiast with love for cricket, football and sports in general. Holds 10+ years of following and writing about sports and lately also betting.