It is fair to say India vs Australia has been the rivalry of the 21st century. Be it Test cricket, ODI cricket or even Twenty20 cricket, no two countries have produced more contests that have proceeded to leave the fans on the edge-of-their-seats than these two proud cricketing nations.
If we talk about ODI cricket, who can forget Yuvraj’s memorable knock in the ICC Knockout 2000; one that paved way for the pre-mature exit of the defending champions from the marquee event or Ricky Ponting’s epic annihilation of the Indians in the 2003 World Cup final or Yuvraj and India’s redemption eight years later?
Who can forget the six that Brett Lee hit off Laxmipathi Balaji to seal a memorable win for the Aussies at the SCG in 2004 or Irfan Pathan’s epic battle with Matthew Hayden at Brisbane in the same series? If you talk of recent bouts, none comes closer than Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma’s epic annihilation of the Aussies in the 2013 series or Aaron Finch sides’ epic comeback from a 0-2 scoreline last year.
The next few chapters of the Indo-Australian rivalry is set to be written in the upcoming three-match ODI series. So, why not take this moment and delve on the memorable chapters of the past.
Here’s a look at five memorable India vs Australia ODIs of the 21st Century:
5. Sachin Tendulkar’s masterclass in vain as Australia win a high-scoring nerve-jangler
Occasion- 5th ODI of the seven-match series, Hyderabad (2009)
During the course of his 24-year-old career Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar played a lot of memorable innings where he should have ended up on the winning side, but he didn’t. The 5th ODI of the seven-match series against Australia was another such game where Tendulkar played possibly one of the best innings of his ODI career, only to be let down by his teammates.
It would have been a special game for Tendulkar, had India ended up as the winning side. Not only had he scored a masterly 175 off 141 balls, but this was also the game where the Master Blaster notched up an insurmountable 17,000 runs in One-day International cricket. But, ultimately, all of that didn’t matter as India eventually fell short of what would have been their highest run-chase in ODI cricket at the time.
Chasing 351, India looked set for a shellacking when they were reduced to 4-162 with Gautam Gambhir , Yuvraj Singh  and MS Dhoni  all fell in quick succession after a seemingly good start. But, the Master Blaster had different ideas. In what was a masterclass of highest proportions, Tendulkar, flayed the Aussie attack to the tune of 175 off 141 ball- an innings which included 19 fours and 4 sixes.
But with just 19 runs to get, Tendulkar played a very UnTendulkar like stroke when he went for a paddle-sweep, only to end top-edging it. The crowd went silent and what ensued was Chennai 1999 heartbreak- Vol 2.0, as Ravindra Jadeja and Praveen Kumar threw their wicket away with atrocious running. Australia eventually won the game by three runs, and Tendulkar’s tryst with run-chases ending in heart-breaking fashion completed a full circle.
4. Manish Pandey’s SCG epic steers India to their highest run-chase outside India
Occasion- 5th ODI of the five-match series, Sydney (2016)
The 2016 ODI series vs Australia was a nightmarish one for Team India. Despite batting so well throughout the course of the first four ODIs, the Men in Blue were outclassed and outbowled by the Aussies and when Rohit Sharma fell one short of his century during their run-chase of 331 in the fifth match at the Sydney Cricket Ground, a humiliating 0-5 whitewash loomed on the horizon.
But, Manish Pandey had other ideas. In what was a true display of his talent and temperament, Pandey flayed the Aussie attack to all corners of the Sydney Cricket Ground.
The right-hander [104* off 84 balls with the help of eight fours and one six] stitched a crucial 94-run-stand with captain MS Dhoni and in the process brought up his maiden ODI hundred and what better way to bring it in a high-pressure run-chase; one where he ensured that India reached home after four botched efforts.
3. Ashton Turner turns the tables on the Men in Blue in Mohali
Occasion- 4th ODI of the 5-match series, Mohali (2019)
This was an innings that not only turned the game but also the series on its head. Ashton Turner became an overnight hero when he shellacked the famed Indian bowling attack to the tune of 84 [off 43 balls] on that March night at the PCA Stadium in Mohali.
When Turner had come to bat, Australia’s hopes of enforcing the series decider in the fifth ODI had taken a major jolt when Glenn Maxwell was trapped LBW by Kuldeep Yadav. Needing a further 131 runs to win, Australia needed something outrageous.
And, they got in the form of a rampaging Turner, who annihilated the Indian bowling unit to the tune of 84 off just 43 balls- an innings which included five fours and six Brobdingnagian sixes, and along with Peter Handscomb  and Alex Carey [21 off 15 balls] led the Aussies to an unlikely win.
Australia then proceeded to go from strength to strength and defeated India in the series-decider in Delhi to pull off a memorable 3-2 heist over the home side.
2. All-round Murali Kartik [6-27 & 21*] script a comeback for the ages at the Wankhede
Occasion- 7th ODI of the seven-match series, Mumbai (2007)
There was something about playing Australia at the Wankhede Stadium that always used to get the best out of Murali Karthik. After leading India to a miraculous win in the Mumbai Test of 2004, Karthik was at it again three years later, this time in coloured clothing.
Coming into the 7th ODI, Australia had already taken an insurmountable lead in the seven-match series, and they looked prime to seal another win with the likes of Ricky Ponting  and Brad Hodge  going at great guns after the world champions decided to bat first at the Wankhede. But Karthik had different plans.
The left-armer proceeded to run through the Aussie middle-order in a sensational spell of spin-bowling. The left-armer claimed 6-27 which still remains the best figures by an Indian bowler against Australia in ODI cricket.
The Aussies were bowled out for 193 but even that looked more than enough when the duo of Mitchell Johnson [3-46] and Brett Lee [2-30] had reduced the Indians to 6-64 in 18.5 overs. Robin Uthappa took the attack to the Australians during his whirlwind knock of 47 to breathe some life into the run-chase but even that looked to be all-but vanquished when Michael Clarke trapped the right-hander in front of the wickets.
With the score reading 7-129, India needed a miracle to script a comeback. And, it was that man again- Murali Karthik. The left-armer, along with Zaheer Khan [31*] scripted a comeback for the ages as the duo proceeded to overhaul the total of 193 with an unbeaten 52-run-stand for the ninth wicket.
1. Yuvraj’s guttural roar and Raina’s cool and calm demeanour seals the deal for India
Occasion- ICC World Cup Quarter-final, Ahmedabad (2011)
When Michael Clark took that blinder of a catch at point to dismiss Mahendra Singh Dhoni, for a moment, India fans went like, “Here we go again! Another heartbreak at the hands of Australia in a World Cup encounter!” Their minds went back to their heart-numbing day of March 23, 2003, when Ricky Ponting and his mean juggernaut crushed their dreams with ruthless precision.
Eight years later to the day, Ricky Ponting was once again threatening to ruin their dreams- this time on their home soil. On a tricky red-spiled pitch tailor-made to suit the home side, Punter had put on a masterclass early in the day and by the time Dhoni got dismissed thanks to a sensational catch from Michael Clarke, there were still 74 runs to be needed.
But Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina had other ideas. After surviving a few close calls off Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, the duo got into their act and what followed was a highlight real lacked with pristine cover-drives, sumptuous on-drives, ruthless square-cuts, and cheeky leg-side dabs. With 4 runs to get, Yuvraj sealed the deal with a cracking cover-drive off Brett Lee and his guttural roar in the midst of the pitch was a true reflection of what the entire nation was feeling in its immediate aftermath.
After knocking the Aussies out of the World Cup, India went from strength to strength and went on to overcome both Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the semis and the finals, converting a 28-year-old dream into a reality.
Honourable mentions: ICC Knockout 2o00, Brisbane 2004, Bengaluru 2013, Nagpur 2013, Vadodara 2007, Sydney 2004
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