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Wednesday, Dec 11, 2019

India vs Bangladesh: Unbeaten for 7 years, best win percentage - India’s sweet home turf

Fortress: As far as advantage in familiar conditions go, world No 1 India’s grip is way better than Australia, England

cricket Updated: Nov 13, 2019 09:50 IST
Nilaknur Das
Nilaknur Das
Hindustan Times, Indore
After a short break, Virat Kohli will resume duty as India captain in the first of two Tests against Bangladesh, starting in Indore on Thursday
After a short break, Virat Kohli will resume duty as India captain in the first of two Tests against Bangladesh, starting in Indore on Thursday(PTI)
         

It’s a fortress that India now call their home. They have built it brick by brick over the past three decades, culminating in a record 11 straight series wins—India’s last loss at home was against England in December 2012. Since then it has been a cruise, hitting top gear in the last five years.

All top Test teams have crumbled here, some multiple times. With 20 wins in 26 Tests in the last five years, India’s win percentage at home is 77, way ahead of Australia (63), England (61.7) and South Africa (66).

India are unbeaten in 25 of these Tests, which takes that percentage to a staggering 96.1. In the same period, Australia’s unbeaten percentage is 85, England’s 67.6 and South Africa’s 77.

In the present decade, which ends with this two-Test series against Bangladesh starting on Thursday, India have won 35 of 48 Tests at home, a win percentage of 72.9 and an unbeaten percentage of 91.6. In the same phase, Australia’s figures are 65.4 (win) and 83.6 (unbeaten); England’s 61.2 and 85 and South Africa’s 61.2 and 78.7.

India did not lose a bilateral series at home in the 1990s. But their win-loss ratio then was 3.4 (17 wins, 5 losses). It also produced their best home record till 2010 came. Entering the final phase of this decade, India’s win-loss ratio stands at 8.75.

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So, it didn’t come as a surprise when the word respect became the leitmotif of Bangladesh batsman Mohammad Mithun’s media conference at the Holkar Stadium at Indore on Tuesday.

India’s strength

Following a four-hour nets session Bangladesh had—with the red SG ball—Mithun said: “Top teams from around the world have come here (to India) and could do little. That says a lot about India’s strength at home. Even then I believe if we play well as a unit, try and dominate as many sessions as we can, we can put India under pressure. All said it needs just one ball to get a batsman out, so hoping for 20 wickets is quite fair. Key to India’s success has been taking 20 wickets.”

WATCH: Kohli & co train with pink balls to prepare for Day/Night Test

 

Indian bowlers have taken 20 wickets in 21 of their 26 Tests in the last five years, the prime damagers being the spinners. India have taken 491 wickets in all, and 324 of them have been scalped by spinners. R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja have shared 284 of those wickets, which is 57.8% of the total wickets and 87.6% of the wickets that fell to spinners.

The spinners’ share was down a notch from the five-year figure in the recent 3-0 whitewash of South Africa. They bagged 32 of the 60 wickets (53.3%), but even that apparently has the Bangladesh batsmen worried.

“The biggest thing is all five Indian bowlers are really good. You cannot target anyone. We have seen lots of footage, they are really good,” said Mithun. “We have to be careful and give them proper respect, and only then will it increase our chances of staying at the wicket,” he added.

Pace battery

India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane said it was heartening to see how the pace battery operated against South Africa.

“It is really good to see. I thought it started from Australia, South Africa also, but what I saw in the last series against South Africa was that our fast bowlers did really well.

The credit goes to the whole unit, not just one bowler; all the fast bowlers. Also our trainers, physios, they looked after our fast bowlers really well. It is good to watch our pacers dominating in India, and not only abroad. I am really happy for them,” he said.

Rahane too spoke of not taking Bangladesh lightly. “We respect them, but it’s important to play to our strengths,” he said. “Bangladesh is a very good team. They compete, play as a unit. We always focus on our strengths rather than thinking about the opponents.”

India’s dominance at home also stems from top teams struggling to put up big totals as frequently as Indian batsmen have. In the last five years, India have scored over 600 seven times at home.

Visiting teams have gone past even 400 just five times—India have crossed that mark 15 times. In the same period, Australia have scored 600 plus at home just thrice, South Africa once while England haven’t. By contrast, visiting teams have scored more than 400 in Australia 12 times, in England 10 times and once in South Africa.

“But as a team it is important that we forget how well we played against South Africa. It’s past now, it’s important to be in the present. Think about this match, think about the Bangladesh team. And after this Test, we’ll think about the pink-ball Test,” Rahane said.