The Roar
The Roar

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Number one starts at home

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
Replay
Cancel
Next
Roar Rookie
21st October, 2019
22

Recently, India completed their eleventh straight home Test series win, a streak going all the way back the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2013.

No other side has ever done this.

Australia completed ten home series wins, twice, from 1994-2001 and from 2004-2008.

Additionally, Virat Kohli recorded 30 wins from his first 50 Tests, with only Steve Waugh, Ricky Ponting and Viv Richards having superior win-loss ratios.

This period of dominance is not because of doctored pitches, but because we are seeing the emergence of a new great dynasty.

The great sides have always dominated at home. Before their 5-1 loss to Australia in 1975-76, the West Indies lost to Australia at home in 1973, they also drew against England at home between those two series.

They wouldn’t lose another home series until 1995. In 1978-79, they lost to India in India, and, in 1979-80, they lost to New Zealand in New Zealand.

Australia, before that ‘95 West Indies series, had last lost a series at home in 1992-93, to the West Indies. Before that they lost in 1988-89, also to the West Indies.

The only team who could beat Australia at home, as they grew into that golden generation, was the greatest sporting team ever assembled; a side that went fifteen years without a series defeat.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Australia would remain undefeated at home until 2008-09, losing to South Africa following the retirements of a number of the side’s greats.

They would lose at home again in 2010-11, against England, as England began translating their strong home cricket to overseas success.

Now we have India.

India's captain Virat Kohli

India’s captain Virat Kohli (AP Photo/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake)

India are starting to convert this home dominance to away wins. Last Summer, India beat Australia at home. It was their first major away win, having suffered defeats against England and South Africa.

The reasons for the team’s success are of course the players.

Jasprit Bumrah makes a huge difference and was instrumental in their dominant victory over West Indies earlier this year. With Mohammed Shami, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvenshwar Kumar and a career best Ishant Sharma making up the rest of the attack and pace reserves, you have a pace battery that rivals any in Test history.

Add Ravi Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja and Kuldeep Yadav in the spin department, and you have the most potent and best balanced attack operating in the world today.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Then there are the batsmen. Kohli is in that special part of the world occupied by only himself, Steve Smith and Kane Williamson.

Cheteshwar Pujara, as he proved last Summer, is perfect at number three. Ajinkya Rahane is a strong leader and very good middle order batsmen, without being world beating. Rohit Sharma is scoring centuries for fun. Mayank Agarwal and Prithvi Shaw, two young stars, have shown they have what it takes to form the next great opening partnership.

India are balanced and settled, everyone knows their role. So, if someone misses a series or two they can come back into the side and pick up where they left off. Like Ashwin and Rohit have against South Africa.

If Australia is going to the challenge for the number one ranking, and in the shorter term the World Test Championship, they have to rebuild their home fortress. You can’t launch a campaign for the number one ranking if you can’t win series at home.

Australia’s home form, with recent losses to India and South Africa, is looking shaky. Coupled with a dismal away record in the medium-to-long term, five looks like a fair ranking from the ICC algorithm.

Advertisement
Advertisement

Pakistan should be an easy side to defend against. However, it’s Pakistan and anything can happen, that’s why we all love them.

New Zealand will be the tougher side. They deservedly hold the number two spot and haven’t lost a series since 2017, against South Africa. Australia could rise as high as number three with a 2-1 series win, provided other results go our way.

New Zealand have their best ever team, and Lockie Ferguson adds an important dose of pace to the bowling attack.

This year, in Tests, both Williamson and Tom Latham are averaging over 70. Ross Taylor more than 60, Ben Watling is the best keeper-batter in the world. Smart behind the stumps and averages more than 50 this year.

Henry Nicholls, another important player, is a little behind the pack, averaging 48. However, he was their most successful bat in 2018, scoring 658 runs at an average of 73, with three hundreds and three fifties.

A series loss against Pakistan would signify something very rotten in Australian cricket. A win against New Zealand could mark a turning of the proverbial corner, a final end to the never-ending transition that has marked Australian cricket since the Argus review.