Cummins
The Australian team has made life difficult for touring squads since the lost home series in 2016. Image by Richard Wainwright/AAP PHOTOS
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Australia in another era of Test dominance at home

Oliver Caffrey December 19, 2023

Since the unmitigated disaster of the 2016 Hobart Test, Australia have been an unstoppable force at home.

That is against every opponent except one.

As Pat Cummins’ team made light work of Pakistan in Perth, attention was already turning towards next summer when India again venture down under.

Six players – David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood – remain from the XI that crumbled to an embarrassing innings and 80-run thrashing by South Africa seven years ago.

After going down 2-0 – meekly losing a Test series at home against the Proteas for the third straight time  – a new-look team bounced back by winning the next match in Adelaide for a consolation victory.

Australia’s record at home since November 24, 2016, stands at an imposing 26 wins, five draws and four defeats.

Teams led by Smith, Tim Paine and Cummins have demolished England (twice), Sri Lanka, New Zealand, South Africa and the West Indies in series on home soil.

But all four losses – two in 2018-19 and two in 2020-21 – have come against India as the powerhouse of world cricket finally unlocked the key to winning consistently in Australia.

India will return next summer for a five-Test battle as Australia attempt to regain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy for the first time since 2017.

Apart from the blemishes against India, the current group’s record compares reasonably against the benchmark of the “golden generation” earlier this century.

During a nine-year stretch, it was again India who caused Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting’s sides the most trouble, without actually winning a Test series in Australia.

Australia won 43, lost three (two to India and one to England) and drew eight Tests across 18 home series from 1999-2008.

Pakistan, led by the attacking Shan Masood, are trying everything to create history in Australia but the new captain simply does not have enough weapons at his disposal to intimidate the World Test champions.

Before attempting to bounce back in the Boxing Day Test, the tourists will face a Victoria team in a two-day match at the Junction Oval in St Kilda.

But if Pakistan were unhappy about the slow wicket they encountered for their match against the PM’s XI, they are unlikely to be pleased by the pitch at Cricket Victoria’s headquarters.

As the MCG has been spiced up since the dull Ashes draw in 2017, the Junction Oval wickets have usually produced the most runs out of any Sheffield Shield pitch in the country.

After a few days back in their home states, Australian players regroup in Melbourne on Friday as they seek to extend Pakistan’s miserable winless run in Tests in this country dating back to 1995.