New Delhi:Australia have an awesome record in Test cricket in the first seven years of the new millennium. Their next opponents this summer India is way behind the champions, positioned at five with almost half the winning percentage.
Australia, who renew their rivalry with India with the first Test in Melbourne on Boxing Day (Dec 26), have played 87 Test matches since Jan 1, 2000, and won 66 of them - a 75.86 winning percentage. They have lost only 10 Tests and drawn 11.
India, who have never beaten Australia in a Test series Down Under but came close to registering their first win in 2004, have played 81 Tests and won only 31 for a winning percentage of 38.27. They have lost 22 and drawn 28 Tests.
Captain Kumble is aware of the enormity of the challenge ahead - not just for him but also for senior pros Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Sourav Ganguly and V.V.S. Laxman.
The ace leg-spinner, who is also Indian's highest wicket taker, pointed out how important this series would be for India and especially for the "Famous Five".
"Most of the seniors are here probably on their last tour of Australia. So it's very important we go back home victorious," Kumble stressed on arrival in Melbourne.
"We did extremely well in the last Test series, so it's going to be very crucial for all of us," said the man, who did very well on the 2003-2004 tour. Kumble took 24 wickets in three Tests to emerge as the highest wicket-taker on either side.
As a team, Australia also have a much better Test record than India while playing away from home since Jan 1, 2000.
Australia have played 41 away matches and won 29 for a winning percentage of 70.73. They have lost a mere eight Tests and drawn four.
India, on the other hand, have played more matches than Australia, 46, and emerged victorious in 16 of them for a winning percentage of 34.78. They have lost 15 matches and drawn 15.
Although there is a vast difference between the winning percentages of the two teams, the only consolation for India is that they are second only to Australia in terms of overseas success amongst the 10 Test-playing countries.
Kumble's India can better their overseas record in the upcoming four-Test series.
With most of the 'Famous Five' in fine form, as evident during the team's 1-0 home series win over Pakistan recently, it is perhaps the best opportunity for India to record their maiden Test series triumph in Australia.