India and Australia have locked horns in several memorable encounters in Test cricket over the years. Both teams have produced some of the most excitingly contested Test matches, with a pool of legends featuring for both sides. 

These players have contributed immensely to make India vs Australia one of the greatest rivalries in the purest form of the game. 

Talking about the bowlers, well it’s not possible to win Tests without your bowlers getting wickets irrespective of how many runs your batters have made. Several Indian cricketers have starred in Tests against Australia over the years and quite a few have done so with ball in hand. 

Former Team India spinner Anil Kumble heads the charts for the most wickets for India against Australia in Tests with 111 wickets in 20 matches.

Most wickets for India against Australia in Tests

Player Matches Wickets
Anil Kumble 20 111
Ravichandran Ashwin 21 107
Harbhajan Singh 18 95
Ravindra Jadeja 15 84
Kapil Dev 20 79
Zaheer Khan 19 61
Ishant Sharma 25 59
Erapalli Prasanna 13 57
Bishan Bedi 12 56
Shivlal Yadav 13 55

Anil Kumble (111 wickets in 20 matches)

Leading the charge is legendary spinner Anil Kumble, who took a total of 111 wickets in 20 Tests against Australia, including 10 five-wicket hauls and two 10-fers. Out of his 111 Aussie scalps in Tests, 62 came while playing in India and 49 Down Under.

Kumble’s sheer control over the ball and his ability to extract turn and bounce made him a formidable opponent for the well-equipped Australian batting department. He was especially effective in the subcontinent, where the spinning conditions favoured him.

Among a plethora of breathtaking spells, Kumble’s 8/141 at the Sydney Cricket Ground during the fourth Test of the 2003-04 Australia tour will long live in the memories of the cricket fraternity.

Little Master Sachin Tendulkar smashed an unbeaten 241 to propel India to 705/7d in the first innings. Thereafter, Anil Kumble weaved his magic to restrict the Steve Waugh-led side to 474/10, bagging 8/141. Nonetheless, the high-scoring match ended in a draw.

Ravichandran Ashwin (107 wickets in 21 matches)

Having made his Test debut in 2011, Ravichandran Ashwin has been India’s go-to spinner as far as Test cricket is concerned in recent years. He’s taken 107 Test wickets in 21 games against Australia. 

The Tamil Nadu-born all-rounder showcased a top-notch performance against the Aussies when he registered 7/103 in front of his home crowd in February 2013, the same match which also witnessed MS Dhoni’s highest score (224 runs) of his glittering career. A combined team effort helped the hosts cruise to an eight-wicket victory as Ashwin also finished with impressive figures of 5/95 in Australia’s second innings.

Harbhajan Singh (95 wickets in 18 matches)

Harbhajan Singh is another Indian spin legend who made a big impact against Australia, scalping a total of 95 wickets in 18 Tests. He was known for his sharp off-spin and his ability to generate turn from the pitch was among the best. Of Harbhajan’s 95 Aussie scalps in red-ball cricket, 86 were in India and only nine were in Australia.

‘The Turbantor’, as he was famously known, showcased his exploits most famously in the 2000-01 Border-Gavaskar Trophy, where he took an astonishing 32 wickets in three matches, including a jaw-dropping performance at MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai, where he breezed through the visitors’ batters with figures of 15/217 (7/133 in first innings | 8/84 in second innings).

Despite Australia opener Matthew Hayden smashing a double century in the first innings, the tourists suffered a narrow two-wicket defeat at Chennai and lost the series. He also claimed a hat-trick in this series during the second Test in Kolkata as India rescued victory from the jaws of defeat having been made to follow-on.

Photo credit: Alamy