Australia started the Test tour vs India with a victory    IANS
Australia started the Test tour vs India with a victory IANS

To call Australia s win over India in the first Test (both of the series and at the ground) at Pune one-sided will be an understatement on the lines of calling Shoaib Akhtar a medium-paced bowler. Australia did everything right from the first session, and India lost the Test before they could realise what had happened. While the Indian juggernaut was halted, they will certainly bounce back, for they are No. 1 in ICC Test rankings for a reason. The remaining 3 Tests of the series will certainly be mouth-watering prospects, and will, in probability, involve contests of the highest order. Full Cricket Scorecard: India vs Australia 1st Test at at Pune

However, despite the humongous 333-run margin of victory (yes, there have been bigger margins, but not many in Tests not lasting three days), Australia did not win by an innings. Of course, a win is a win nevertheless, but an innings win is a massive ego booster.

But what exactly is an innings win? If a side s first-innings total is more than the sum of totals of both innings of the opposition, one can say the first team has won by an innings. In other words, to win by an innings a side either has to bat second or, if they bat first, enforce the follow-on.

This obviously puts the side batting first at disadvantage, since they need that 200-run first-innings margin (of course, the margin has varied over time and still varies depending on the number of days of the match) to win by an innings, while the side fielding first does not have any such restriction.

Let us look at the scoreline closely now: Australia 260 and 285 beat India 105 and 107 by 333 runs.

India have scored 212 in the Test across innings, a number less than both 260 and 285, Australia s scores in the match. In other words, Australia had technically won by an innings, since both their innings totals have been greater than the sum of India s totals.

Let us have a look at such occurrences in history, where a side has batted twice, and each innings of theirs has been more than the match aggregates of the opposition. As captains seem more and more reluctant to enforce the follow-on, it is likely that such occurrences may become more common in near future.

Each innings of one side outscoring opposition’s total score
Margin Team 1 Scores Team 2 Scores Min Venue Season
288 England 185 226 South Africa 93 30 123 St George’s Park 1895-96
675 England 521 342/8 d Australia 122 66 188 The Gabba 1928-29
272 India 252 261/5 d New Zealand 140 101 241 Eden Park 1967-68
425 West Indies 211 411/5 d England 71 126 197 Old Trafford 1976
279 India 272 237 England 102 128 230 Headingley 1986
328 South Africa 235 259 India 100 66 166 Kingsmead 1996-97
312 Australia 269 261 West Indies 167 51 218 Queen’s Park Oval 1998-99
329 England 326 293/5 d Bangladesh 152 138 290 Chittagong 2003-04
491 Australia 381 361/5 d Pakistan 179 72 251 WACA 2004-05
465 Sri Lanka 384 447/6 d Bangladesh 208 158 366 Chittagong 2008-09
337 India 334 267/5 d South Africa 121 143 264 Feroz Shah Kotla 2015-16
333 Australia 260 285 India 105 107 212 Pune 2016-17
Special mention
354 England 354 262/9 d Pakistan 182 80 262 Trent Bridge 2010

Curiously, of the 12 instances, 9 have come overseas. In fact, the first time this was done by a country at home was as late as in 1996-97, by South Africa against India at Kingsmead.


There is an interesting observation here.

Consider A s scores X and Y, and B s scores Z and W, where A is the winning side.

Now, we now that (minimum of X and Y) > (Z + W).

The margin of victory is (X+Y)-(Z+W), which can be written as either (X-(Z+W)+Y) or (Y-(Z+W)+X).

In our case, both (X-(Z+W)) and (Y-(Z+W)) are positive numbers.

Hence, the margin of defeat will be greater than all four team innings in the Test.

In other words, these instances of victory are too special to ignore. It is time cricket statisticians named it.