Australia took the very English game of cricket and quickly became better at it than their colonist masters. Known as the Baggy Greens after their trademark green cap, Australia has been a major international cricket power since it won the first ever Test match against England in 1877.
Player after supremely talented player has risen through the ranks of domestic Australian cricket and onto the world stage. From Donald Bradman to Michael Clarke, the list of international cricket superstars from Down Under is long and imposing. On top of these abundant reserves of talent, Australia has forged a considerable reputation for its never-say-die attitude. Even in its most troubled years, Australia could be counted upon to scrap hard for every run and every wicket on the field.
Since the retirement of most of a golden generation of the late 1990s and early 2000s, Australian cricket has entered something of a rebuilding phase in the first part of the 2010s. However, talented players continue to appear at the highest level, and that famous competitive streak remains intact. Don't be surprised to see Australia back at the top soon.
World Cup Record:
Australia's national cricket team has won the World Cup four times: in 1987, 1999, 2003 and 2007. It has also finished runner-up in 1975 and 1996, making Australia the most successful nation in Cricket World Cup history.
In the 2003 and 2007 tournaments, Australia were particularly dominant. Incredibly, it did not lose a single match in either tournament.
- Sir Donald Bradman: Widely considered to be the greatest player in the history of the game, Bradman dominated his era (the 1930s and 40s) like no other batsman before or since. He finished with a Test cricket average of 99.94, streets ahead of anyone else -- ever. Bradman died in 2001, aged 92, having become an icon of global cricket and Australian culture.
- Shane Warne: You either loved Warne or you hated him, and most opposition batsmen hated him. He was aggressive, cocky and spun the ball a really long way. Warne took over 1000 international wickets over the course of his career -- the first player to do so -- and provided a steady stream of gossip through various off-field indiscretions.
- Michael Clarke: The current Australia cricket captain, Clarke has matured from a bright young thing into a world-class leader. Not only did Clarke prove himself an able leader of men upon taking over from Ricky Ponting, he also hit the best batting form of his career. An outstanding triple-century at his home Sydney Cricket Ground in January 2012 confirmed that Australia had found its leader for a new era.
- Shane Watson: Like Michael Clarke, Shane Watson came onto the international scene as a cocky youngster and has become... well, not a lot less cocky, but a far more complete player. Watson has graduated from the middle to the top of the batting order and can play defensively or aggressively as the situation demands. He's also a more-than-useful fast bowling option and a capable understudy to captain Clarke.
- James Pattinson: Among a crop of talented young Australian fast bowlers, Pattinson is arguably the most promising. Pattinson bowls quick and uses his height to his advantage, generating good bounce and movement off the pitch and through the air. He impressed on his 2011 test debut, taking five wickets in an innings against New Zealand.
Australia Cricket Timeline:
- 1877: First test match, and first test win, against England.
- 1890-1914: Wins eight of ten cricket tours against England and South Africa.
- 1928: Sir Donald Bradman debuts against England.
- 1932-33: Controversial 'Bodyline' tour, in which England's fast bowlers targeted Australian batsmen's bodies with short-pitched deliveries.
- 1948: Donald Bradman retires from Test cricket with a world record average of 99.94.
- 1960: Takes part in first ever Tied Test against the West Indies.
- 1975: First Cricket World Cup appearance in England. Finishes runner-up.
- 1981: Infamous 'underarm incident' in which Australia's Trevor Chappell bowled underarm to New Zealand's Brian McKechnie. Underarm bowling was soon banned by the International Cricket Council.
- 1987: Wins World Cup in India and Pakistan with a narrow final victory over England.
- 1992: Shane Warne debuts against India.
- 1992: Co-hosts World Cup with New Zealand, going out after the round-robin despite being fancied to win the tournament.
- 1999: Wins World Cup in England, defeating Pakistan in the final. The tied semi-final against South Africa is widely regarded as one of the greatest-ever one-day cricket matches.
- 2003: Wins World Cup in South Africa, crushing India in the final.
- 2004: Michael Clarke debuts against India.
- 2007: Wins World Cup in the West Indies, easily beating Sri Lanka in the final.