Australia in India 2012-13 March 25, 2013

Four-nil means no more 0-4s?

Samir Chopra investigates the dominant nature of India's 4-0 result over Australia, and how it has bucked the trend of previous results

MS Dhoni's batting epitomised India's dominant hold over Australia during the recent series whitewash © BCCI

An Indian team winning 4-0 is a rare thing. Indian teams do not do dominance. They do not hand out a thumping, and then continue to do so. Usually the foot comes off the pedal, a series win is settled for, and the draw is chosen. They especially would not be thought capable of doing dominance a short while after having suffered a rare defeat at home, one in which their bowling attack looked threadbare and inept. But exert dominance is just what the Indian team has done in this past series against the Australian team.

It is too early to say whether this series win signals any sort of novelty in Indian Test cricket. I have borne witness too long to too many events in Indian cricketing history that were deemed seminal, revolutionary; and all of the rest to draw extravagant conclusions from its occurrence. What this series does permit is a revisitation of some remarkable individual and team performances, ones which ensured that despite losing all four tosses, and facing the prospects of batting last in each game, India won all four Tests. It will also permit the debunking of the silliest myth associated with the Indian win: that it was all about the designer pitches.

Last things first. In the first Test, Australia scored 380, and India replied with 572. In the second Test, India scored 503. In the third Test, India responded to 408 with 499. It was only in the fourth Test that we got scorelines that might have indicated a raging turner. But the Kotla does not seem to have played like one, just like the first three Tests. Rather, in each case, there was some turn, wear and unpredictable bounce. Indian spinners bowled tight line and lengths, and Australian batsmen lacked patience. And in each case, India batted better.

The Indian batting was not perfect; some of their big scores resulted from lopsided scorecards, where one big partnership propped up the order. But those big partnerships were missing on the Australian side. And if the pitches were spin-friendly, the Australian bowling did not do as well on them as the Indian ones did. Ashwin, Ojha, Jadeja were always better spinners than their counterparts. Now that the batting and bowling are accounted for, isn't it clear why India won and Australia lost? (I'm not including fielding and captaincy in this analysis, but they seem besides the point right now.)

But in winning four Tests, India did something else. They played a brand of cricket, especially in the first and third Tests, which showcased diligent attempts to seize the initiative and play themselves into a winning position. In the first Test, facing a first innings-total of 380, and with his own side's innings stumbling around at 372-7, the Indian captain smashed them to a match-winning lead of 192. Hopefully, he will continue to remember he bats better when he attacks. And in the third Test, India forced the pace thanks to the debutant Shikhar Dhawan, and created a win in four days. I picked a draw in that Test at the end of the third day, and continued to do as the familiar Indian bugbear of the inability to blow away the tail manifested itself. Heck, I stayed with my prediction of a draw as India chased, all the way down to the end.

So convinced was I that India lacked both the nous and desire to complete the chase. But they did it, and finally wrapped up as comprehensive a win as their fans could have wanted. As I said above, I am reluctant to draw too many conclusions about the future of Indian cricket based on one series win, at home, against a team undergoing a transition of its own. South Africa, at home, awaits. But the presence of young batsmen who show a hunger for runs, spinners who show aggression, and most importantly, a winning feeling whose memory will, hopefully, stick around and provide some wind beneath their sails in that land. On its pitches, against names like Steyn, Morkel and Philander, there is sufficient cause to hope that no more inversions of this present score lie around the corner.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Wesley on March 28, 2013, 7:01 GMT

    Oh god no, not another India circle jerk. India lost 4-0 and 4-0 in respective tours to England and Australia, Australia lost 4-0 now, what is the causal link to them all. Weak traveling teams because neither possess the balance to be successful in touring conditions.

  • Sreekanth on March 28, 2013, 4:23 GMT

    @You_CANNOT_be_serious - It would have been an innings defeat in Mohali, if it wansn't for the rain. Regarding the difference in the 15 months, it is obvious! Dravid and Laxman have retired, Sehwag and Gamhir were dropped. Young batsmen with promise showed their credentials. Between Dhawan, Pujara, Vijay, Ashwin, Jadeja and Dhoni, they pulped australia. four of those guys were not there last year in the team.

  • Dummy4 on March 27, 2013, 12:39 GMT

    India won this series because of Australians bad performance... will c indians in South Africa... Dhobi s a lucky person. But all credits should goes to DADA... he is the main reason for indians reason success. He mades the platform for The Team India.

  • V.L on March 26, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    @You_CANNOT_be_serious The second test, Aus lost by an innings and 135 runs, their 10th worst defeat in 120 years of cricket!

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2013, 9:30 GMT

    This win on any reason was just awesome..First of all a white wash is not a simple thing..And to white wash a team like Australia who fight till last breath is just awesome..And u cant say about the experience of the australian team..look at the experience of the indian team..The only experienced guys in this team wer Dhoni and sachin..All the guys who performed where inexperienced..played not more than 10-15 tests.. Never under estimate our own team..its too Bad..we have to show our support

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2013, 9:24 GMT

    I totally Agree with @SanjivAwesome. A win is a win. W all know India's record is not good at away. But it was an awesome win by teams. India beat Oz in every department. Austrailia had also won in Austrailia against India. England is winning at their Home. Every team is strong at Home. We need to cheer for this win rather than criticizing.

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    @andrew: Hussey and Ponting have retired, Haddin is no longer good enough to retain his place in the team. What are you talking about. Even India does not have Dravid and Laxman, they have retired. Dont forget when Australia lost 2-0 in 2008 and 2 in 2 tests in 2010 in India, both Ponting and Hussey were there and still they lost. Grow up. Austraians played pathetically. If they continue to do so, they are due to lose both the Ashes this year.

  • Sajid on March 26, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    Well no doubt it was a good series, result which I am sure no Indian would have imagined in their wildest dream. But still its too early to be too excited or to be too happy about it. We should not forget this series have been won in India on Indian wickets. The real test is to achieve something similar or at least win a series overseas.

    We have been always or mostly unsuccessful in our International tours, specially the one held in countries like Australia, England or South Africa. Very soon Team will be travelling to South Africa and their will be our true test.

    Lets see how thing goes from here.

  • Dummy4 on March 26, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    @You_CANNOT_be-serious Come on bro. THe reason Australia got past 200 6 times was the fact that Indian pitches are a little better for Batting than Australian ones. Also Indian's were downright horrendous in Australia, Australia were horrible but still their batting prodigies Starc and Siddle managed to pull them over the line. As for the innings wins, You have to remember tha tthe 3rd test lost one day so India coudnt make the runs needed for an innings win without risking losing the match to a draw. INdia won the last test in 3 days. Did australia manage that in australia??? :) PS: NO offence

  • Sanjiv on March 26, 2013, 6:48 GMT

    Some posts suggesting that "now India must win abroad" are pathetic. A win is a win. Every country wins in their own backyard. And loses in others. The reason is simple - you have spent your formative years from age 6 onwards in a certain environment which stays with you when you are 26. Of course you will do better at home! In SA, the South Africans will have clear home advantage - and the probabilites are with them to win.

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