India in home Tests 2013-22: A 100 percent series win-loss record for India with a match win-loss record of 34-2. India haven't lost a single series at home since 2013.
India’s Test team has been dominating the format for quite some time now and it has been largely due to how they improved leaps and bounds as a touring nation over the last decade. But we tend to forget the fact how invincible they are at home traditionally.
They have been undefeated in a home Test series since their 1-2 defeat at the hands of England when the Alastair Cook-led team toured India in late 2012. From then on, it has been one-way traffic whenever a Test series happens in India. It is mostly an Indian win or in some cases, the Test results in a draw. Only on the rarest of rare occasions, India have lost a Test match in the past decade.
India unbeaten at home in Test series played since beginning of 2013
In fact, India have lost only two of the 42 Test matches they have played at home since January 1, 2013 till date, and won 34 of them. The two tosses were against Australia in the 2017 series where Steve O’Keefe wreaked havoc with a 12-fer in Pune and another in Chennai in 2021 against England where Joe Root produced a masterful double century during his purple patch.
Even on the occasions where India lost, the team won the series quite comprehensively in the end. India have largely produced result-oriented pitches as only 6 games ended in draws.
Since the series loss against England, India have hosted nations like Australia (twice), South Africa (twice), England (twice), New Zealand (twice), Sri Lanka (twice), West Indies (twice), Bangladesh (twice) and Afghanistan (once) in as many as 15 series. Yet no side has managed to breach India’s fortress in their home conditions and India have a win record of an astounding 100 per cent as far as home Test series are concerned.
Similar story during 1990-99 with odd blips during 2000-2012
However, India’s dominance in home series cannot just be limited to the last decade alone, and though they weren’t good as a touring side, historically the team hasn’t been easy to defeat in their own backyard.
If we take into account India’s home Test series from the start of the millennium and till the series defeat against England in 2012-13, India have hosted 63 Test matches winning 30 of those games and losing 11. Apart from the series loss against England in 2012-13, only Ricky Ponting-led Australia team in 2004 (1-2) and Hansie Cronje-led South Africa (0-2) were able to defeat India.
But the stronghold of post 2013-era was missing in that period as five different teams were able to get away with drawn series outcomes. The touring South African (one of the best touring sides in that era) team under Graeme Smith (2007-08 and 2009-10) were able to salvage a series draw and India’s arch-rivals Pakistan did the same in 2004-05 with the team led by Inzamam-ul-Haq. The other best touring Test sides were England in 2005-06 with legendary all-rounder Andrew Flintoff at the helm, and a high scoring 0-0 outcome was the series result against New Zealand in 2003-04 who were skippered by Stephen Fleming.
As a result, the success rate of India in home Test series from 2000-2012 (23 homes Test series took place during that period) was about 65.21 per cent which is a stark contrast from the post-2013 period.
In the era preceding 2000 (1990-1999), India played host to just 13 bilateral Test series and 1 Asian Test championship which they didn’t win. But as far as the home series go, India maintained a 0 pc loss record with 10 series wins and 3 drawn series – one against West Indies in 1994-95, one against Sri Lanka (1997-98) and an unforgettable Pakistan home Test series in played in 1998-99.
The last period of a decade where the home Test series in India where the touring sides thought that they were in with a chance to win was that of 1980-89. India had a 7-8 win/loss record during that phase at home, and the invincible West Indies last Test series win in India came that time in 1983-84 while Pakistan won a competitive 5-match series by 1-0 in 1986-87. Apart from that, England managed to win one series against India in India in 1984-85 during that decade.
Ashwin-Jadeja’s combined 427 wickets during 2013-22 wreaked havoc on tourists
Though we can say that playing at home largely favours the hosts, we have seen teams losing a series here or there. If we look at the last decade, teams like Australia, South Africa, England (traditional giants) have faced series defeats at home. This fact makes India’s 100 pc record in the last decade even more special. Pakistan too, who like India used to have a stronghold playing at home, lost twin home series back-to-back in recent times against Australia and England in the year 2022.
So, what has made the balance shift in favour of India more than other teams while at home. One may argue that India produce pitches which aids spinners and the SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) and West Indies batters find it hard to cope with spin and more often than not succumb against the guile of Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja.
The observation is correct as the spin duo of Ravindra Jadeja (169 at 20.33) and Ravichandran Ashwin (258 at 19.86) proved to be match-winners in this phase picking 427 wickets between them in this phase. They also had players like Axar Patel (39 wickets in 6 home games) and sporadic appearances by Kuldeep Yadav, Jayant Yadav and Amit Mishra among others.
But the other key factor many tend to forget is the contribution of India’s seamers in home Tests. We know Indian pitches are traditionally spin-friendly but the modern pitches here have something in them for the pacers with the advent of T20s and emphasis of doing well overseas.
This has led to a boom in India’s pace bowling crop and the major wicket-taker has been Umesh Yadav. The under-rated pacer Umesh Yadav has taken 80 wickets in 25 home Tests in the given period, while Mohammed Shami whose 67 wickets came in just 18 home Tests at an average of 21.28 have been vital cogs for India in home games as well.
The usual suspects, India’s batting might should also be lauded in this regard. As the pitches here tend to be more bowler-friendly in recent times, the role of star batters like Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara, Rishabh Pant, Ajinkya Rahane to name a few can’t be denied.
Border-Gavaskar Trophy 2022-23 holds a lot of promise for Test Cricket aficionados
After a tough away schedule in this World Test Championship (WTC) 2021-23 cycle where they toured England and South Africa, India’s next home series is against Australia in February-March 2023, which should be exciting for the observers of the game. This Australian side is as strong as it gets and the number 1 Test team under the leadership of Pat Cummins would embark on their 4-match long tour of India starting February 9, 2023.
This should be a competitive series as Australia have won pretty much everything in this format recently and for India, it is a must win series to reach the WTC Final for the second time in succession.