How impressive is India's Test record at home?
- Team India is close to breaking a major record in Test cricket. How did they get here?
Team India started its three-match series against South Africa to kick off the home Test season and just two days into the first match, they've established a stronghold on the game. An interesting statistic that popped up was that should India win this series, it would be their 11th consecutive test series win at home, a record that began in 2012 after England left victorious having owned the three-match series, 2-1.
An 11th consecutive test series win at home would also be a new record, beating mighty Australia's record of having gone ten test series at home without a loss, twice. This would be a remarkable record so let us decode it and discuss how India has come this close to breaking this record.
This run began with India beating Australia 4-0 in 2012/13 and over the course of seven years, India has played the top test sides and outshone their opponents enroute to this record. The first series was India's first whitewash of Australia and was also the start of preparing wickets that were absolute rippers for spinners, leading to the emergence of the duopoly of Ashwin and Jadeja at home. Murali Vijay, MS Dhoni and Cheteshwar Pujara were the leading run-scorers but this series was won largely by India's batting and the transition to an emphasis on India's bowling will be interesting to see.
India then began their 2013/14 home season with a comrehensive 2-0 win over the West Indies. Tendulkar's farewell series was a demolition of a poor Windies Test squad as India romped home in both games. Both matches were won by an innings and Rohit Sharma was the man of the series.
After a long losing streak away from home, India returned to play South Africa in a four match series where the pitch was under heavy scrutiny as the hosts won 3-0 on square wickets. Kohli's first series at home was a success but spin was the name of the game as many runs weren't scored, this was re-emphasised with Ashwin being named the man of the series.
New Zealand were next in line as they were promptly swept aside 3-0. The series was very one sided, lit up by Kohli's double century and Ashwin's heroics again as he won back to back man of the series laurels. This was the start of a long 2016/17 Test season that shaped India's side and was key in them gaining the number one spot in the ICC Test rankings.
India's batting came to the fore once again with a dominating display against England in a five match series as India won 4-0. India made over 600 in the last two matches of the series. A series that had started off with a hard fought draw, finished up as a one sided contest. This series also belonged to Virat Kohli, who averaged 109 across. Ashwin and Jadeja led the wickets column once again.
In preparation for the Aussies, India played a one off match against Bangladesh which was yet another demolition as Kohli notched up a double hundred.
The biggest challenge to India's record came from Australia in 2016/17, one of the all time great series with drama and quality galore. India was also exposed to the enigma that is, Steve Smith who proved to be the biggest challenge for the Indian bowling attack. India won 2-1 in this four match contest after recovering well from an early jolt.
This series was an exciting contest as certain moments in the games flipped the contest. Kohli failed heavily with the bat, which required the others to step up. Jadeja was the man of the series but the unsaid man of the series was definitely Steve Smith who conquered a turf no other foreign batsman had the whole season. This also showed the character of the Indian team as they bounced back and fought fire with fire with the Aussies.
To start the 2017/18 season, India played Sri Lanka in a three match series winning 1-0. Sri Lanka surprisingly, provided a great contest and challenged India impressively in two of the three games. Kohli showed his class with back to back double hundreds, winning the man of the series accolade. India also didn't completely rely on the spin as Mohammad Shami and Bhuvneshwar Kumar impressed with their pace.
India hosted Afghanistan for the latter's first ever Test match in what was a historic contest. As expected, India won but not before an impressive show by the Afghans who showed that they are here to stay.
India's last home series was against West Indies which was another demolition of sorts as they romped to a 2-0 win. Prithvi Shaw maiden Test outing was noteworthy, earning him the man of the series title. There was also an equality between pace and spin as Umesh Yadav impressed with the ball. This was the start of India's direction towards pace bowling and youth.
To analyse the whole performance, India has played all the top teams in this world and even though the last few opponents have been weak, they have played Australia twice during this spell, a very strong South Africa side and New Zealand too. After playing the Proteas, India will play Bangladesh before the start of a tour Down Under to face Australia and New Zealand that should ask a few questions with regard to the quality of this Test team. India's next challenge at home will be a five match Test series against England and it will be interesting to see how India tackle that. Their record is very impressive and one must acknowledge the quality of this side that has grown leaps and bounds over the years, and should they maintain this run, they must be recognised as one of the best Test sides of all time.
Also see – World Test Championship points tablePublished 04 Oct 2019, 11:52 IST