Over the years: Controversies and more at Australia Tri-Series

The tri-nation ODI series in Australia has seen several notable and some controversial moments over the years that have changed the game of cricket forever. Here are some of them...

With the Carlton Mid ODI Tri-Series, featuring India, England and hosts Australia, set to take off from January 16, here are some interesting and notable moments from the previous editions of the tournament.

The tri-nation tournament has seen several firsts and some controversial moments that changed the game of cricket forever.


Mike Brearly’s tryst with the tournament

1979-80: Skipper Mike Brearley and his English side did not like some of the innovations in the limited overs format and refused to don the new colourful "pyjamas".

The England vs West Indies qualifying match at Sydney saw one of the most controversial moments in cricket that forced the authorities to change the rules. With Caribbean team needing three runs to win from the final ball of the match, England captain Mike Brearley  exploited a loophole in the laws by putting all ten fielders -- including the wicketkeeper -- on the boundary. England won the tie by two runs, but Brearley’s decision led to ODI rules being changed to incorporate fielding restrictions to prevent a repeat of the incident. 

Most disgraceful moment in cricket history

1980-81: In the third final, with New Zealand needing six runs from the final ball to tie the match, Australian captain Greg Chappell ordered his younger brother, Trevor to bowl the ball underarm along the ground. This was one of cricket's most controversial moments of all time. ODI laws were changed so that any ball delivered underarm would be called a no-ball.

'Fixed' match?

1981-82: In the final qualifying match, Australia defeated West Indies at Sydney on run-rate after rain washed out the last 6.5 overs of the match. The Melbourne Age newspaper later alleged that West Indies had deliberately lost the match to ensure that Australia got to the finals series ahead of Pakistan, which would result in a gain of $800,000 to the Australian Cricket Board in extra gate takings. West Indian captain Clive Lloyd won a libel action and $100,000 in damages against the newspaper.

1988-89: In the third final at Sydney, rain stopped play for one hour and 25 minutes with West Indies at 47/2 after 6.4 overs chasing Australia's 4/226 off 38 overs, and West Indies target was revised to 108 off the 18 overs that remained; West Indies won the match (and the competition) with 4.4 overs remaining after Desmond Haynes hit Steve Waugh for six. Australian fans loudly booed this unsatisfactory conclusion, and criticism from the media led to the average run rate method being replaced by the most productive overs method for setting revised targets in interrupted matches.


1979-80: The Australia vs West Indies match held at Sydney on November 27, 1979, was the first official ODI to be played at night.

1982-83: New Zealand breaks the world record for the highest successful run chase in an ODI, scoring 297-6 to surpass England's 296-5 in Adelaide. The record stood until 1992.

1982-83: In the second final at Melbourne versus Australia, New Zealander Lance Cairns scored the then World record fastest ODI fifty off 21 balls, hitting 6 sixes. This is the still currently the fastest 50 in Australian Tri-Series matches.

1983-84:  The first ever tied One-day International took place in the second final at the MCG between Australia and West Indies, after Carl Rackemann was run out attempting the winning run.

1985-86: After having clinched a finals berth, Australia was defeated by New Zealand by 206 runs in Adelaide after being bowled out for 70. This remains Australia's heaviest defeat by runs in ODI history.

1988-89: The first match of that season's tournament, West Indies v Pakistan, Adelaide, 10 December 1988, was the first one day international to feature shirts bearing the player's names.

1985-86: Australian fast bowler Bruce Reid took the first hat-trick in the history of the Australian Tri-series in Sydney versus New Zealand on 29 January 1986.

Phil Simmons
Phil Simmons. Pic/ Pradeep Mandhani

1992-93: West Indian all-rounder Phil Simmons recorded bowling figures of 4/3 from 10 overs against Pakistan in Sydney. These remain the most economical bowling figures in one-day international history (qualification of 30 balls bowled).

1995-96: The first match in the tournament, West Indies vs Sri Lanka Adelaide, December 15, 1995, was the first ODI that featured numbers and names on the back of player's shirts after they were introduced for that season's Mercantile Mutual Cup tournament.

Adam Gilchrist
Adam Gilchrist. Pic/ Suresh K.K.

2005-06: In the third final at Brisbane, Adam Gilchrist scored the fastest century in Australian Tri-Series history off 67 balls versus Sri Lanka.

2011-12: Daniel Christian became the 31st person, and only the 4th Australian, to take a One Day hat-trick.


2003-04: Ajit Agarkar recorded bowling figures of 6/42 from 9.3 overs against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. It was the first and, to date, only six wicket haul in an Australian Tri-series match.

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar

2007–08: Sachin Tendulkar's twin innings in the first 2 finals of the CB series in 2008 constitutes two of his best ODI performances of his career. In the first final, he scored 117 not out as India chased down 240 before following it up with a 91 in the 2nd final to set a target of 259 for the Australians which India went on to win. The result and the tournament was monumental since this was India's first tri-series win in Australia and this was also only the third time Australia had lost a tri-series at home in the last 11 years. Sachin Tendulkar's century was his first ODI century in Australia.  

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