India's home Test dominance continues

India's home Test dominance continues

2-0, 1-0, 3-1, 2-0, 3-0, 2-0, 1-0, 1-0, 2-1, 1-0, 4-0, 3-0, 3-0, 2-0, 4-0

These are not scores from some football team’s winning streak in a league season taking them to the top of the table and attracting comparisons with The Invincibles of Arsene Wenger.

These are painful memories of the 15 Test teams (not nations, mind it) who have set foot on the Indian soil in the last 10 years to have a shot at conquering the ‘final frontier’ of world cricket. But no one could even come close to touching the Cloak of Invincibility that the Indian men’s Test team has wrapped itself into since the shock defeat at the hands of England in 2012.

Australia’s Pat Cummins is set to join the list in the coming days. His team has already lost both the Tests they have so far played in the ongoing four Test series.

In recent years, India’s dominance at home has been so complete that it sounds like those mythical stories that we are repeatedly told about our distant past. Have a look. Out of 44 Tests at home since the beginning of 2013, India have won a whopping 36 and lost just two (vs Australia in 2017 and vs England in 2021). Fifteen of those wins were by an innings, five with a margin of 300 runs or more and 10 with 200 runs or more. They also won five times with a margin of eight-plus wickets. Their lowest margin of victory was 75 runs or 6 wickets.

Winning in India has been a daunting task for overseas teams for a long time now. In last 40 years, only six captains — Clive Lloyd (1983-84), David Gower (1984-85), Imran Khan (1986-87), Hansi Cronje (1999-00), Adam Gilchrist (2004-05) and Alastair Cook (2012-13) — have managed to leave these shores with trophy in their hands and victorious smile on their lips.

But, it’s in the last 10 years that India have turned their backyard into an unbreachable fortress, so much so that they have won all of their last 15 Test series and are on the verge of making it 16 out of 16. It’s a streak that no other team in the past could achieve. Neither the Australia of Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting (both won 10 series each on the trot from 1994 to 2000 and 2004 to 2008 respectively), nor the mighty West Indies of Clive Lloyd and Vivian Richards (8 series between 1976 and 1986).

From winning just around 28 per cent of home Tests in 1970s and 1980s, India have achieved a win percentage of nearly 82 in the period between 2013 and 2023 (see chart).


In the last 100 years, no other Test team boasts of such a high win percentage at home over a period of 10 years. Sure, Australia were infallible at home from the New Zealand series in 1993 to the South Africa series in 2008, a period when they won an incredible 64 Tests out of 86, with a win percentage of 74.42. During that period, they won 25 series and only three teams returned home with a drawn series – South Africa (1993-94), New Zealand (2001-02), India (2004).

The longest unbeaten streak, however, belongs to the West Indies. After losing to Australia in 1973, they didn’t lose a single series at home till 1995 when they again lost to Australia. The Caribbeans won 14 series and drew only two (England 1973-74 and Pakistan 1987-88) during that period. But they won only 36 Tests out of 67 and drew 23 to keep their win percentage to 53.74. This, however, is not an attempt to prove/show that this Indian team is the greatest of all time. No. It is only to put into context India’s brilliance at home.

Firstly, numbers alone can’t measure greatness. It’s just one of the many factors that needs to be considered to come to a right conclusion. Secondly, home conditions always favour the hosts. So, home record alone can’t be the yardstick to talk about a team’s greatness. One has to consider their away record, too.

In the same aforementioned period, India played 54 Test away from home. They won only 21 and lost 22 for a win percentage of 38.89. They lost in South Africa (20021-22, 2017-18 and 2013-14), New Zealand (2019-20 and 2013-14), England (2018 and 2014) and Australia (2014-15). In comparison, West Indies remained unbeaten for 18 series away from home between 1980 and 1996. Australia regularly won overseas in the 1990s and 2000s. So, in foreign conditions, India are not there yet but they have made huge improvements in the last decade. They have beaten Australia twice, drawn a series in England and taken a game off South Africa. It is at home where India have truly become, as Australian captain Pat Cummins said, “The most difficult place to win.”

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