New Zealand ended 49 years of pain against Pakistan with a 123-run victory in the third and final Test in Abu Dhabi. The victory gave them a 2-1 series win and it was their first against Pakistan in their ‘home’ conditions for the first time since 1969. The 49-year wait is not the first time where teams have had to wait for such a long time to get success. Teams like South Africa, England, India and Australia have also had to wait for similar lengths of time to achieve success. Following New Zealand’s success, here are the other instances of teams breaking their Test hoodoo in a particular country after a long time.
1.) Australia end 35 years of misery in India
Australia’s last series win in India came in 1969 in a series marred by riots and disturbances in Kolkata, Mumbai and Bangalore. Following the 3-1 series win, Australia endured 35 years of pain. In 1979, India secured their first-ever series win in the six-match series. In 1986, a tied Test in Chennai was the highlight of the 0-0 draw while Australia were undone by VVS Laxman’s sheer brilliance in Kolkata in the 2001 series which they lost after leading 0-1. In 2004, Australia changed their script. Michael Clarke’s debut ton in Bangalore scripted a famous win while Jason Gillespie’s nine wickets in the Nagpur Test ensured Australia conquered the final frontier after a gap of 35 years.
2.) India break New Zealand jinx after four decades
India has struggled overseas in Tests for a long time and no country magnifies their struggle more than New Zealand. In 1968, India secured their first-ever overseas win by winning the series 3-1. India was then denied many times by the sheer brilliance of Sir Richard Hadlee in the 70s and the 80s. In the 90s, a combination of weather and flat pitches denied them any advantage. In 1998, Simon Doull’s seven wickets in the first Test in Wellington derailed India at the start of the tour. In 2002, on green decks, India were undone by swing and lost 0-2 in a series where the highest individual score was 89. In 2009, India were boosted by sheer determination and secured a 10-wicket win in Hamilton. Gautam Gambhir’s epic 11-hour rearguard in Napier ensured India would draw the match and the final Test in Wellington ended in a draw, ensuring India had finally broken their nightmare in New Zealand.
3.) South Africa overcome home town heartbreak after 48 years
It is rare to see a side struggling to win in their home conditions against an opponent. This was South Africa’s fate against Australia. After winning the series 4-0 in 1970, South Africa were banned from playing cricket for 22 years due to apartheid. In 1994, the first series between the two sides ended 1-1. In 1997, Australia won the series 2-1 while in 2002, South Africa were undone by the brutality of Adam Gilchrist who smashed the fastest double century. In 2006, Ricky Ponting was at his sublime best as Australia achieved a 3-0 whitewash. In 2009, Mitchell Johnson broke the South African batting apart with a glorious all-round display while in 2011, they were rescued by Pat Cummins in the Johannesburg Test after being bundled out for 47 in Cape Town. In 2014, Johnson was again at his best and backed by Ryan Harris, Australia kept the streak alive.
In 2018, after winning the first Test in Durban, things went horribly wrong for Australia. They were beaten soundly in Port Elizabeth while the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town resulted in Steve Smith and David Warner, two of their best players banned for a year. With morale at a low following the incidents and loss in Cape Town, Australia lost the final game by 492 runs to lose the series 1-3 and give South Africa joy after 48 years.
4.) England break the Pakistan darkness after 39 years
England had won their first Test in Pakistan in 1961 by five wickets in Lahore but they faced tremendous obstacles as they did not win another one for 39 years. They were undone by flat pitches, poor umpiring and trial by spin and reverse swing in the 80s and the 90s. At the start of the new millennium, England embarked on a series to Pakistan after 13 years and after two draws, it seemed England’s wait would be prolonged. However, in Karachi, England found an opening after dismissing Pakistan for 158, giving them a target of 176 in 44 overs. In the face of deliberate slow bowling, England had an uphill task. With darkness approaching, the umpires allowed play to continue. Nasser Hussain’s side finally did the unthinkable as Pakistan lost in their fortress of Karachi for the first time. In times of darkness, it was the happiest moment for England.
5.) India recaptured by the British after 28 years
If there is one country that has shredded England’s ability to play spin, it is India. After victory in 1984, they were brownwashed 3-0 and their quest for a series win was jolted after losing 1-0 in 2001. England had something to smile in 2006 after Andrew Flintoff’s inspirational ‘Ring of Fire’ quote helped them to a win in Mumbai. An emotional and unforgettable century by Sachin Tendulkar in the fourth innings in Chennai, in the aftermath of the Mumbai terror attacks, denied England and in the 2012 series, they got off to a poor start with a loss in Rajkot.
However, Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen’s brilliant counter-attack in spinning conditions in Mumbai turned the course of the series and another Cook ton in Kolkata helped England take the lead against India. A draw in Nagpur ensured England had conquered India for the first time in 28 years. It was the second coming of the British to India, this time in cricket.
Notable mentions: In 2018, New Zealand won the Pink Ball Test in Auckland against England and held on for a draw in Christchurch to win the series 1-0. It was New Zealand's first win at home against England after 34 years, the last being in 1984. England also broke their Ashes jinx in style when they won the 2010/11 series 3-1 against Australia for their first win Down Under in 25 years. Apart from Tests, Zimbabwe broke a 31-year jinx in ODIs against Australia when they won the 2014 tri-series game in Harare. Their last win came in the 1983 World Cup.