The 1920/21 Australians led by Warwick Armstrong have achieved something unique that even the Bradman’s 1948 “invincibles” could not emulate. The series which was lost by
Winning 5 tests in a series is so rare in test cricket that it occurred only 10 times in 157 Test series of 5 tests are more. 17 of those test series consisted of 6 tests and only twice the results yielded 5 wins in favor of one team. One of them was the 1978/79 Ashes in which
So we can not find fault with English cricketing authorities to keep the series out of Ashes contention when they were invited to play that short 3 test series in 1979/90 to end the WSC crisis against a star studded Australian side, which was expected to win by 3-0 margin. After all they were in possession of Ashes for less than an year and did not want to give it back so quickly especially knowing that only a miracle can save them from getting defeated.
The 1920/21 tour of
But in the test series it was a complete reversal of fortunes for
The 5-0 victory margin by Australia in that 1920/21 Ashes Series was not only a first in Ashes but was also a first in test history. Australia over the years went on to register two more clean sweeps in their test history once against South Africa in 1931/32 against South Africa in 1931/32 and once against West Indies in 2000/01 .
The only other time a 5 test series was won by a 5-0 margin was by South Africa against West Indies in 1998/99 . These are the only eight instances in cricket history when a 5-0 clean sweep was registered in Test Series.Two other test series did include 5 victories for the same side. Once by Australia against West Indies in 1975/76 Australia against West Indies in 1975/76 and the other time as mentioned earlier in this posting by England in Australia 1978/79 Ashes were decided won by 5-1 margin. But as you might have rightly guessed, they are not clean sweeps.
Ashes Countdown Factoid 98:
Will the 2006/07 Test series result in a clean sweep either for
I really doubt, as unlike in 1920/21 Ashes when all the tests were played as timeless tests, today’s test matches are restricted to five days and both teams have too many quality players who can atleast save the matches and play for a draw rather than letting their opponent overpower them by a 5-0 margin.
But then…..you never know…. “Cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties.”