There have been 50 four-Test series in Test cricket’s history. The first was 1881: England vs Australia, in Australia. After that series there was not another four-Test series until 1930: England vs New Zealand in New Zealand. There were a handful of four-Test series in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and 80s, with the format steadily increasing in popularity until becoming what it is today: the go-to number of Test matches in marquee tours that are not the Ashes.
In the format’s history, there have been six 4-0 whitewashes: Australia vs India in Australia (1967-1968) (Australia 4-0 India); South Africa vs Australia in South Africa (1970) (South Africa 4-0 Australia); England vs the West Indies in England (2004) (England 4-0 West Indies); England vs India in England (2011) (England 4-0 India); Australia vs India in Australia (2011-2012) (Australia 4-0 India); and India vs Australia in India (2013) (India 4-0 Australia).
What’s interesting is that Australia has been involved in four of the six white washes and India is a close second having been involved in three of the six. I think supporters of both nations will tell you that, yes, it’s either sink or swim with those two.
Australian supporters are of course are in full on meltdown, and looking back at their nation’s history, they really should be.
After being whitewashed by South Africa in 1970, they hosted, and lost, the Ashes. Then went to England in 1972 and failed to win them back.
They only won one Test of the ten immediately following the fateful trip to South Africa.
But of course things turned around for the Aussies soon: They mauled Pakistan 3-0 at home in a three-Test series; went to the West Indies for a five Test series and won 2-0; won the Ashes back in 1975; and held them in 1976.
And so everything is not lost, Australia, but I think if history teaches us anything, you are in for some dark days.
Meanwhile, down in New Zealand, England is two days away from losing their first Test series to New Zealand since 1999; and two days away from losing their first Test series to New Zealand IN New Zealand since the first term of the Reagan administration.
And, just like their Australian counterparts, England supporters are in full on meltdown mode. And so how did England fare after last losing a Test series to New Zealand?
They went to South Africa, and lost.
But after that: they hosted Zimbabwe, and won; they hosted the West Indies, and won; they traveled to Pakistan, and won; and they went to Sri Lanka, and won.
All told, they won four of the five Test series immediately following their series loss to New Zealand.
Regarding the Ashes specifically, after the New Zealand series, they were thoroughly drubbed 4-1 in England in 2001 and thoroughly drubbed 4-1 again in Australia in 2002.
And so, with the Ashes not four months away, both teams are in a wee spot of trouble. Though Australia surely is in muddier waters than England, both teams are hardly going to be at their best, on the field or in the clubhouse, when the first coin is tossed at Trent Bridge this coming July.
Which, in a lot of ways, for this neutral, is going to make the series even more interesting than it usually is.
List of years that Coldplay performed in England:
2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2011, and 2012.
In 2005, England hosted the Ashes, Coldplay performed in England, and England won the Ashes.
In 2009, England hosted the Ashes, Coldplay performed in England, and England won the Ashes.
In 2013, Coldplay is not scheduled to play in England.
This of course bodes well for Australia.
I don’t care much for Coldplay, but this song’s all right: