January 10, 2011

You've been triple-whammied

Teams who inflicted three innings losses on their opponents in one series. No prizes for guessing who features most on the list

England in Australia, 2010-11
Long-suffering England followers were rubbing their eyes with amazement throughout most of the recent Ashes series, as Australian after Australian did a passable impersonation of much English batsmanship of the previous two decades. The bowling boots, too, were very firmly on other feet, and England won by an innings in Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney, a triple whammy never before achieved by either side in any Ashes series. It was the first time Australia had ever suffered three such comprehensive defeats in the same series, and only the second instance of a touring side inflicting three innings victories away from home.

Australia in South Africa, 1935-36
The other occasion when a touring team completed three innings wins: Australia may have lacked Don Bradman (recuperating after illness), but they still had the deadly spin combination of Clarrie Grimmett (who "shot his age" with 44 wickets in the series when he was 44) and Bill O'Reilly. After victory in the first Test by nine wickets, and a draw in the second, the side, captained by Vic Richardson - Ian and Greg Chappell's grandfather - romped to innings victories in Cape Town (Grimmett 10 for 88), Johannesburg (Grimmett 10 for 110) and Durban (Grimmett 13 for 173).

England v West Indies, 1928
This was arguably the most excusable of whitewashes: West Indies' inaugural Tests came in England in 1928, and they lost all three by an innings. The tourists were hampered by unfamiliarity with English conditions, and a parochial selection policy which dictated that the various territories should have similar representation. Also, George Challenor of Barbados, once a great batsman but past his best at 40, was preferred to Jamaica's George Headley, considered too young at 19. Less than two years later Headley would make 176 in his first Test, two more hundreds in his third, and a double-century in his fourth.

India v Sri Lanka, 1993-94
Sri Lanka were a settled side and shouldn't have gone down so easily in this three-match series - but India were in the middle of a superb home run and eased to innings victories in Lucknow (the only Test ever played at the Babu Singh Stadium there), Bangalore and Ahmedabad. Sri Lanka suffered badly from a lack of bowling support for the hard-pressed Muttiah Muralitharan (Sanath Jayasuriya opened the bowling in one Test and Arjuna Ranatunga in another) and the Indians galloped past 500 in the first two games. India's happiness was complete in the final Test - their ninth home win in a row - when Kapil Dev broke Richard Hadlee's record for the most Test wickets.

Australia v India, 1947-48
Don Bradman's soon-to-be Invincibles tuned up for their 1948 visit to England by outclassing an Indian side making their first full tour Down Under. There were some heroic performances for the Indians: Vijay Hazare made hundreds in both innings in Adelaide, and bowled Bradman. Unfortunately The Don had made 201 by then, and Australia's 674 was enough for an innings victory. The Aussies won by an innings in Brisbane and Melbourne too, but missed out on a possible whitewash when rain allowed only 10 hours' play in the second Test. In his final home series the 39-year-old Bradman made 715 runs at 178.75.

England v West Indies, 1957
With players of the calibre of the three Ws and the young Garry Sobers, not to mention Ramadhin and Valentine, the mesmerising "spin twins" of 1950, West Indies should have been formidable opponents for England in 1957 - but in a wet summer and against largely the same side that had won the Ashes convincingly at home the previous year, they slipped to innings defeats at Lord's, Headingley and The Oval. The West Indians were not helped by undercurrents about the captaincy, which had reverted to John Goddard, a white Barbadian rather past his sell-by date: he had been the successful skipper in 1950, but was recalled from semi-retirement at 38 to take the reins ahead of his black team-mates Clyde Walcott and Frank Worrell.

England v New Zealand, 1958
Discussions about the worst touring side of all usually end up with the New Zealanders of 1958 contesting top spot. They included one opener (Jack D'Arcy) who never made a first-class hundred, and another (Lawrie Miller) who once collected four Test ducks in a row. They all suffered at the hands of Tony Lock, who took 37 wickets at 7.47. New Zealand escaped a whitewash only when it rained almost non-stop at The Oval. They were bowled out five times for less than 100, and England's four wins included innings victories at Lord's, Headingley (where only two England wickets went down) and Old Trafford.

England v India, 1959
England bounced back from Ashes defeat to complete their only 5-0 whitewash in any Test series, against another touring team whose inexperience in seaming English conditions cost them dearly. On paper India looked a reasonable side, with batsmen of the calibre of Vijay Manjrekar and Polly Umrigar, but the home attack proved incisive time after time: England's clean sweep included innings victories at Trent Bridge, Headingley and The Oval.

Australia v West Indies, 1930-31
West Indies, on their first tour of Australia, had feared Don Bradman after his record-breaking exploits in England the previous summer (a still-record 974 runs in the Tests). They were happy to dismiss Bradman for 4 and 25 in the first two Tests - but lost them both when the other Aussie batsmen made up for The Don's drought. And when Bradman got his eye in, with 223 and 152 in the next two matches, the series was sealed, with innings victories in Sydney, Brisbane and Melbourne following the ten-wicket triumph in the first Test. West Indies did regain some pride by winning the final game, though, after The Don's first Test duck.

Australia v South Africa, 1931-32
It's that man again: Don Bradman was simply irresistible as South Africa were whitewashed in Australia, scoring 226 and 112 in the first two Tests, which were won by an innings, 2 and 167 in the third (making up exactly the eventual victory margin of 169 runs), and 299 not out in the fourth (a ten-wicket win). Bradman twisted his ankle and couldn't bat in the final Test... but the put-upon tourists didn't benefit much from the absence of a man averaging 201 in the series, as they were shot out for 36 and 45 on a Melbourne "sticky dog" (a rain-affected pitch - no full covering in those days), and lost by an innings again.

Sri Lanka v Bangladesh, 2007
With a trip to Australia looming, Sri Lanka were in no mood to take it easy against Bangladesh, and won all three Tests of their series by an innings and plenty. Muttiah Muralitharan took 26 wickets in the three matches, including his 700th in Tests, while Kumar Sangakkara reached 200 in both the second and third games.

Steven Lynch is the editor of the Wisden Guide to International Cricket 2011

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Harsh on January 12, 2011, 3:57 GMT

    One of the all-time great performances of International cricket by England in the recently concluded Ashes Series.Reminds one of the dominance British colonial empire.No team has vanquished a full strength Australai ever on their soil,including Clive Lloyd's invincible West Indian side.Imagine 3 inings triumpks.Steve Waugh's,Ricky Ponting's or even Bradman's champion Australian sides would have been proud of such a performance.Is it the era of a rennaissance of English Cricket?

  • Jason on January 12, 2011, 3:27 GMT

    "No prizes for guessing who features most on the list" I would say, Mr Lynch, anyone who does guess correctly MUST receive a prize as who could possibly seriously entertain that the answer would be England? You would have had more guesses for the Windies in the 80s or Australia in 90s-00s rather than England in any era. The English wins over the Windies in 1957 & Australia in 2010-11 are the only noteworthy examples on that list. The others are not that impressive as they generally seem to involve a new inexperienced side up agst a well established champion team. Gilliana, how do Symonds & Khwaja make Oz an "international" side? Symonds may have links to the UK but is as Aussie as they come & Khwaja came here as a child. Did u automatically assume he must be an "international" coz of his non-Anglo name? This barely compares to the litany of imports, mainly from South Africa, that England has always had. But good luck to them, they certainly taught Australia a lesson this summer.

  • Gilbert on January 11, 2011, 2:17 GMT

    All the hep, pep and big talk by the Australian media: then the so called icons (a dime a dozen these days. Beer will be the next, haha) accusing England of being an international side: they quickly forget recently they had Symonds and Khawaja and even today a so called 'icon' arrogantly says that England is an average side - as if 20 million in this country could not see with our naked eyes the Englishmen hacking our boys limb by limb on the playing field. A good spanking is what was needed and what we got to bring us down to earth. If guys like Beer, Smith and Doherty could be in the Australian XI then I have got to admit we have no ntalent left to replace this lot.

  • Michael on January 11, 2011, 1:07 GMT

    I suppose the only obvious answer is that Australia and England would feature in an era when these were the only 2 dominant teams.So it was no surprise not to see the great West Indian team of the 70's/80's or the Australian team of the 90's/00's.

  • Duncan on January 10, 2011, 22:56 GMT

    Not sure @pingissimus but I guess the 'no prizes for guessing' sub-heading is referring to Don Bradman. Not obvious though.

  • Dominic on January 10, 2011, 15:49 GMT

    Don't understand the title to this piece for the life of me. England features most on this list. Are we to suppose that England is the dominant force in world cricket down the ages? Rather think the sub-editor needs to look for a new job.

  • B on January 10, 2011, 13:02 GMT

    Sometimes stats do not give a complete picture of lopsidedness of a series. While SL vs. India in 93-94 fits the metric here, in 1974, England had 2 innings victories over India in a 3-test series - more importantly, the 3-0 whitewash was accomplished by losing only 24 wickets in total, more comprehensive than India's 3-0 win over SL.

  • Yasir on January 10, 2011, 6:08 GMT

    oh sorry checked it out, Lucknow has two test stadiums, K.D Singh Babu Stadium hosted the match between SrilLanka and India where as University Ground hosted the match between Pakistan and India. Interestingly both the grounds have hosted a solitary test match so far.

  • Yasir on January 10, 2011, 6:06 GMT

    @Sri Lanka in India, 1993-94... Didn't Lucknow hosted a test match in first ever series of Pakistan. ??

  • Srivatsa on January 10, 2011, 4:28 GMT

    My bad...Should have gone through the list more comprehensively :)

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