How India dominate at home

After India completed another comprehensive home Test series win, against New Zealand, Karan Mamgain looks at the reasons why India tend to dominate at home in Test cricket.

Karan Mamgain
by Karan Mamgain
4th October 2016

article:4th October 2016

The Indian spinners tend to have a psychological edge over the opposition's batsmen
The Indian spinners tend to have a psychological edge over the opposition's batsmen

India’s home record in the last 10 years is truly a sight to behold, the current No. 1 ranked Test nation winning 27 of the 43 Test matches they’ve played, losing just four times.

They’ve lost just one series, in 2012 against England, and drawn two against South Africa in 2008 and 2010.


Since that loss to England, India have won 11 out of the 12 Tests they have played at home – drawing once against South Africa last year, a match in Bengaluru which saw play possible only on day one due to heavy rains.

The only country that even comes close to matching India’s home Test record is Australia, which begs the question: What makes India so exceptional in home conditions?

PITCHES

Rarely has the Indian team been thrown a surprise pitch in home Test matches. Subtle differences in bounce and turn make these pitches quite different from one another.

Most Indian batsmen have extensive experience in domestic cricket, and therefore understand the different pitches very well. Given the exhaustive domestic structure in India, local Indian batsmen play on well over 15 pitches in a given season.

SPINNERS

ASHWIN, JADEJA COMBINED RECORD WHEN THEY PLAY TOGETHER IN TESTS

  • Matches: 13
  • Wickets: 144
  • Average: 18.21

It is well known that Indian pitches are tailored more for spinners than for fast bowlers. India tend to have a good bunch of spinners and at times are not dependent on just their top two spinners.

Even in the ongoing series against New Zealand, Amit Mishra – who has taken 28 wickets in his last seven Tests at an average of 20.64 – can’t get a game.

In fact, the one series India lost at home recently, England’s Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann outperformed their Indian counterparts with ease. The spin duo had 37 wickets between them in the series.

In contrast, India’s premier spinner Ravichandran Ashwin got only 14 wickets in four Tests at an average of over 50 – something that has not come close to happening in any other Test series he has played in the sub-continent.

INDIAN BATSMEN STEP UP TO THE MARK

Given Indian pitches are not the most conducive to fast bowling, visiting teams also have to extensively rely on spinners to compete in the sub-continent.

Firstly, Indian batsmen who don’t tend to fare very well against swing, pace and bounce, don’t have to worry too much about such things at home.

Secondly, visiting spinners are often simply not good enough to trouble the Indian batsmen on their home turf.

BELIEF

The legend of India’s impressive home record dates back far beyond the last decade. The rank turners, the hot and dusty afternoons, the rambunctious crowds – all these have created an aura around touring India.

The Indian players play with a different intensity at home and wholeheartedly believe that the match isn’t lost even when they are down in the dumps.

Essentially, India’s aggression and belief at home is very similar to Australia’s Down Under. This reflects in the impressive record that both teams have in their respective home conditions.


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