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George Binoy and Travis Basevi dig into our stats database

The whitewashers get whitewashed

Teams that won all their matches in a series, and then lost all in the next one

Travis Basevi and George Binoy

February 8, 2012

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Glum faces in the England side following the whitewash, Pakistan v England, 3rd Test, Dubai, 4th day, February 6, 2012
Beaten 0-3 after beating India 4-0 © AFP
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There have been few crashes in cricket harder than the one England just suffered. From the heights of their 4-0 whitewash of India at home, during which they wrested the No. 1 Test ranking, England hit terra firma in the UAE, where they were whitewashed 3-0 by Pakistan. The longevity of their No. 1 status is now tied to South Africa's fortunes in New Zealand. Very few teams have won all the Tests in one series, and then lost all the Tests in the next.

England's reversal in results is best illustrated by the difference between their batting averages in the Pataudi Trophy and the Mobilink Jazz Cup. Against India, England's batsmen averaged 59 in four Tests. Against Pakistan, they managed 19.06 in three, a fraction more than the number of awards handed out at the end of the series. England's 4-0, 0-3 turnaround was the ninth time a team lost all Tests in a series after winning all Tests in the previous one.

All of the previous eight instances, however, involved a two-Test series, and six out of the eight involved either Zimbabwe or Bangladesh. So a relatively stronger Test team would clean sweep Zimbabwe or Bangladesh and then be whitewashed by a more formidable opponent. The two exceptions are New Zealand's 2-0 victory against West Indies at home in the summer of 1999-00 followed by a 0-3 defeat to Australia, and Bangladesh's 2-0 sweep of a weakened West Indies in the Carribean followed by their 0-2 loss at home to India in 2009-10.

Winning all matches in a series followed by losing all matches in a series - Tests (ignoring one-off Tests)
Team Series Host Country Season Mat Series Host Country Season Mat
Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe in SL 1996 2 v New Zealand in NZ 1996/97 2
Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe in SL 1997/98 2 v South Africa in SA 1997/98 2
New Zealand v West Indies in NZ 1999/00 2 v Australia in NZ 1999/00 3
Sri Lanka v Bangladesh in SL 2002 2 v South Africa in SA 2002/03 2
Pakistan v Zimbabwe in Zim 2002/03 2 v South Africa in SA 2002/03 2
New Zealand v Bangladesh in Ban 2004/05 2 v Australia in Aus 2004/05 2
Sri Lanka v Bangladesh in SL 2007 3 v Australia in Aus 2007/08 2
Bangladesh v West Indies in WI 2009 2 v India in Ban 2009/10 2
England v India in Eng 2011 4 v Pakistan in UAE 2011/12 3

While the first time a team whitewashed another and then got whitewashed themselves was as late as 1996, the reverse took place as early as 1931-32. South Africa were beaten 0-5 on their tour of Australia: three were innings defeats, the others by 169 runs and ten wickets. Bradman scored a hundred in each of the first four matches, including the only unbeaten 299 in Test cricket. South then went to New Zealand, where they won both of the Tests.

The most recent of the ten entries in the table below is Bangladesh's 2-0 win in the Caribbean, which was preceded by a 0-2 defeat at home to Sri Lanka.

Losing all matches in a series followed by winning all matches in a series - Tests (ignoring one-off Tests)
Team Series Host Country Season Mat Series Host Country Season Mat
South Africa v Australia in Aus 1931/32 5 v New Zealand in NZ 1931/32 2
Sri Lanka v Australia in Aus 1995/96 3 v Zimbabwe in SL 1996 2
West Indies v New Zealand in NZ 1999/00 2 v Zimbabwe in WI 1999/00 2
New Zealand v Australia in NZ 1999/00 3 v Zimbabwe in Zim 2000/01 2
Pakistan v Australia in SL/UAE 2002/03 3 v Zimbabwe in Zim 2002/03 2
Pakistan v South Africa in SA 2002/03 2 v Bangladesh in Pak 2003 3
Sri Lanka v Australia in SL 2003/04 3 v Zimbabwe in Zim 2004 2
New Zealand v England in Eng 2004 3 v Bangladesh in Ban 2004/05 2
New Zealand v South Africa in SA 2007/08 2 v Bangladesh in NZ 2007/08 2
Bangladesh v Sri Lanka in Ban 2008/09 2 v West Indies in WI 2009 2

In 2008, England had a similar experience in one-day internationals, achieving a comprehensive victory at home and then losing badly in Asia. They beat South Africa 4-0 in the ODI series during the summer; the fifth match was abandoned with the visitors 6 for 1. England then travelled to India, where they lost the first five out of seven one-day games before the tour was interrupted by the terror attacks in Mumbai and the last two fixtures were cancelled.

Winning all matches in a series followed by losing all matches in a series - ODIs (excluding no results and one-off matches)
Team Series Host Country Season Mat Series Host Country Season Mat
England v India in Eng 1974 2 v Pakistan in Eng 1974 2
New Zealand v India in NZ 1975/76 2 v England in Eng 1978 2
England v Australia in Eng 1980 2 v West Indies in WI 1980/81 2
India v Pakistan in India 1983/84 2 v West Indies in India 1983/84 5
India Rothmans Asia Cup in UAE 1983/84 2 v Australia in India 1984/85 3
West Indies v Pakistan in WI 1987/88 5 v England in Eng 1988 3
India v New Zealand in India 1988/89 4 v West Indies in WI 1988/89 5
West Indies v England in WI 1989/90 3 v Pakistan in Pak 1990/91 3
New Zealand v Zimbabwe in Zim 1992/93 2 v Sri Lanka in SL 1992/93 2
Zimbabwe President's Cup in Kenya 1997/98 6 v Sri Lanka in SL 1997/98 3
Pakistan Asia Cup in Ban 2000 4 Singer Triangular Series in SL 2000 4
New Zealand ICC KnockOut in Kenya 2000/01 3 v South Africa in SA 2000/01 5
Zimbabwe v Bangladesh in Zim 2000/01 3 Coca-Cola Cup (Zimbabwe) in Zim 2001 4
Bangladesh v Kenya in Ban 2005/06 4 v Australia in Ban 2005/06 3
Kenya v Canada in Can 2006 2 v Bangladesh in Kenya 2006 3
Bermuda v Canada in Can 2006 2 v Kenya in Kenya 2006/07 3
Ireland Quadrangular Series (Ireland) in Ire 2007 2 v Bangladesh in Ban 2007/08 3
Bangladesh v Ireland in Ban 2007/08 3 v Pakistan in Pak 2007/08 5
West Indies v Sri Lanka in WI 2007/08 2 v Australia in WI 2008 5
Netherlands v Bermuda in Neth 2007 2 European Championship Division One in Ire 2008 2
South Africa v Bangladesh in Ban 2007/08 3 v England in Eng 2008 4
West Indies Scotiabank Series in Can 2008 3 v Pakistan in UAE 2008/09 3
England v South Africa in Eng 2008 4 v India in India 2008/09 5

England now have the chance to do the reverse. In their previous ODI series, in October 2011, shortly after they routed India at home, they were beaten 0-5 in India. Given their recent performance against spin, though, only the bravest (or perhaps most foolish) man would back them to sweep Pakistan in four ODIs in the UAE.

Perhaps the most remarkable turnaround in ODI form was Australia's performance in the 2006-07 season. After whitewashing England 5-0 in the Ashes, Australia lost the triangular series finals to Andrew Flintoff's team and sent a slightly weakened squad to New Zealand, where they were beaten 0-3 in the Chappell-Hadlee series. It was then that Australia, who had several players on the wrong side of 30, were given the 'Dad's Army' label, and they went to the 2007 World Cup in the Caribbean on a five-match losing streak. They did not drop any of their 11 games in the West Indies, steamrolling all opponents on their way to a third consecutive world title.

Losing all matches in a series followed by winning all matches in a series - ODIs (excluding no results and one-off matches)
Team Series Host Country Season Mat Series Host Country Season Mat
India v England in Eng 1982 2 v Sri Lanka in India 1982/83 3
Pakistan v England in Eng 1982 2 v Australia in Pak 1982/83 2
Sri Lanka v New Zealand in NZ 1982/83 3 v Australia in SL 1982/83 2
India v West Indies in India 1983/84 5 Rothmans Asia Cup in UAE 1983/84 2
India Austral-Asia Cup in UAE 1990 2 v England in Eng 1990 2
Zimbabwe v Pakistan in Pak 1996/97 3 v England in Zim 1996/97 3
West Indies v Pakistan in Can 1999 3 v Bangladesh in Ban 1999/00 2
England NatWest Series in Eng 2001 6 v Zimbabwe in Zim 2001/02 5
Zimbabwe Khaleej Times Trophy in UAE 2001/02 4 v Bangladesh in Ban 2001/02 3
Zimbabwe v Pakistan in Zim 2002/03 5 v Kenya in Zim 2002/03 2
Zimbabwe v West Indies in WI 2006 5 ICC Tri-Series (in West Indies) in WI 2006 3
Sri Lanka v Pakistan in SL 2005/06 2 v England in Eng 2006 5
Kenya v Bangladesh in Ban 2005/06 4 v Canada in Can 2006 2
Kenya v Bangladesh in Kenya 2006 3 v Bermuda in Kenya 2006/07 3
Australia v New Zealand in NZ 2006/07 3 ICC World Cup in WI 2006/07 11
Netherlands Quadrangular Series (Ireland) in Ire 2007 2 v Bermuda in Neth 2007 2
New Zealand v Australia in Aus 2007/08 2 v Bangladesh in NZ 2007/08 3
Bangladesh v South Africa in Ban 2007/08 3 v Ireland in Ban 2007/08 3
West Indies v South Africa in SA 2007/08 5 v Sri Lanka in WI 2007/08 2
Ireland Associates Tri-Series (in Scotland) in Scot 2008 2 European Championship Division One in Ire 2008 2
West Indies v Australia in WI 2008 5 Scotiabank Series in Can 2008 3
South Africa v England in Eng 2008 4 v Kenya in SA 2008/09 2
Netherlands European Championship Division One in Ire 2008 2 ICC World Cup Qualifiers in SA 2009 3
Ireland v Pakistan in Ire 2011 2 ICC Intercontinental Cup One-Day in Ire 2011-20 2

Travis Basevi is a cricket statistician and UK Senior Programmer for ESPNcricinfo and other ESPN sports websites. George Binoy is an Assistant Editor at ESPNcricinfo

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George Binoy Assistant Editor After a major in Economics and nine months in a financial research firm, George realised that equity, capital and the like were not for him. He decided that he wanted to be one of those lucky few who did what they love at work. Alas, his prodigious talent was never spotted and he had to reconcile himself to the fact that he would never earn his money playing cricket for his country, state or even district. He jumped at the opportunity to work for ESPNcricinfo and is now confident of mastering the art of office cricket

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