Data check: Third most dominant team in last 5 decades – the evolution of India’s home Tests record

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Author 2019-09-30 17:19:50

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It’s time for the start of another home season of Test matches for the Indian cricket team. Virat Kohli and his men will play a total of five Tests at home this season, with South Africa featuring in three of those matches [starting October 2] and Bangladesh in two.

The Indian team is going to play a five-day game at home after a lengthy period of time. Since the start of 2018, India have played 14 away Tests – with tours to South Africa, England, Australia and West Indies – and just three at home [one against Afghanistan and two versus the Windies].

With another home season of Test cricket upon us, now is, perhaps, a good time to look at how the Indian team has grown into a formidable force when playing in their own den in the longest format.

Overseas players often speak about how challenging a tour of the subcontinent can be. A major part of that challenge, of course, is the Indian team and its dominance in home conditions. South African players may be in a positive frame of mind as we head into the upcoming Test series but they, especially without the likes of Hashim Amla, AB de Villiers and Dale Steyn, will need to so something special to emerge victorious.

India’s dominance in home conditions has increased tremendously this decade. In fact, only the West Indies team of the 1980s and the Australia team of the 2000s have a better win-loss ratio in home Tests than what India has in the last ten years.

However, India haven’t always enjoyed such a golden run in Test matches at home. Despite having some of the greatest players of the game over the past five decades, India never came close to achieving the consistency of this current team.

All time record of teams in home Tests

Team Matches Won Lost Draw W/L
Australia 421 241 99 80 2.434
England 521 220 122 179 1.803
South Africa 235 107 72 56 1.486
India 267 101 52 113 1.942
West Indies 250 90 65 95 1.384
New Zealand 212 61 64 87 0.953
Sri Lanka 141 61 39 41 1.564
Pakistan 151 56 22 73 2.545
Bangladesh 62 9 40 13 0.225
Zimbabwe 58 9 32 17 0.281
Ireland 1 0 1 0 0.000

As one can see in the table above, India’s all time win-loss ratio in Test matches at home isn’t the best nor is it the worst. This, of course, has a lot do with their record in the first few decades of their introduction to international cricket.

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To get a better understanding of how India have grown into a formidable force in home Tests, let’s look at how all the teams fared in each decade starting from the 1970s.

Jan 1, 1970, to Dec 31, 1979

Team Matches Won Lost Draw W/L
Australia 44 22 14 8 1.571
England 47 17 9 21 1.888
India 34 11 7 16 1.571
West Indies 34 8 7 19 1.142
Pakistan 14 4 0 10 -
South Africa 4 4 0 0 -
New Zealand 21 3 8 10 0.375

This was the time when India started to find their feet in international cricket. With the likes of Sunil Gavaskar bursting onto the stage, the team won Test series’ in England and West Indies for the first time. But as one can see in the table above, India’s win-loss ratio wasn’t too high. This was largely due to the team’s propensity to play for draws.

Jan 1, 1980, to Dec 31, 1989

Team Matches Won Lost Draw W/L
Australia 54 19 15 20 1.266
West Indies 30 18 1 11 18.00
Pakistan 43 17 2 24 8.500
England 57 13 22 22 0.590
New Zealand 28 10 2 16 5.000
India 42 8 9 24 0.888
Sri Lanka 12 2 5 5 0.400

The 1980s is India’s worst period over the past five decades in terms of Test matches at home. They may have played fearlessly and won the World Cup under Kapil Dev in 1983, but the timid approach in the longest format was still very much prevalent. India had more losses than wins in this period and they played out an astonishing 24 draws in 42 matches.

Jan 1, 1990, to Dec 31, 1999

Team Matches Won Lost Draw W/L
Australia 56 34 8 14 4.25
South Africa 36 19 5 12 3.8
West Indies 41 19 8 14 2.375
England 57 17 20 20 0.85
India 30 17 5 8 3.4
Pakistan 34 14 7 13 2.0
New Zealand 40 11 13 16 0.846
Sri Lanka 30 9 6 15 1.5
Zimbabwe 22 2 8 12 0.25

The 1990s saw India establish themselves as a force to be reckoned with in Tests at home. Remember them being called ‘Home Tigers’? Under Mohammad Azharuddin’s captaincy, for the most part, India distanced themselves from the safety-first approach they opted for earlier. The introduction of Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and the likes meant India became a solid outfit all-round.

Jan 1, 2000, to Dec 31, 2009

Team Matches Won Lost Draw W/L
Australia 59 45 5 9 9.000
England 70 38 15 17 2.533
South Africa 54 32 14 8 2.285
Sri Lanka 53 31 11 11 2.818
India 47 21 8 18 2.625
New Zealand 42 15 14 13 1.071
Pakistan 32 14 8 10 1.750
West Indies 51 12 19 20 0.631
Zimbabwe 22 4 14 4 0.285
Bangladesh 29 1 24 4 0.041

The start of this millennium saw Indian cricket entering uncharted territories. The 2000s were when Sourav Ganguly had the reins of the team and his aggressive approach led India to many memorable victories at home and away. This was the decade in which Tendulkar, Dravid, Kumble, Ganguly, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Zaheer Khan and Harbhajan Singh were all at their peak. The team’s win-loss ratio in home Tests was among the best in international cricket in that period, but it was still lesser that what it was in the decade before that.

Jan 1, 2010, to Sep 30, 2019

Team Matches Won Lost Draw W/L
England 67 41 16 10 2.562
Australia 51 33 9 9 3.666
India 45 32 4 9 8.000
South Africa 47 30 11 6 2.727
New Zealand 38 19 7 12 2.714
Sri Lanka 46 19 17 10 1.117
West Indies 42 15 19 8 0.789
Bangladesh 33 8 16 9 0.500
Zimbabwe 14 3 10 1 0.300
Ireland 1 0 1 0 0.000

Finally, the current decade has seen India establish themselves as giants at home. Under Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the first half and Virat Kohli in the second, India has become an incredibly difficult team to beat in home Tests. The fact that only the West Indies team of the 1980s and the Australian team of the 2000s – two sides that are widely regarded as the greatest the sport has ever seen – have a better win-loss ratio in the above decade-wise comparison shows just how dominant this current Indian team is.

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