Here's a curious statistic: In all series that began on or after January 2000, all Top 8 Test nations have been whitewashed in a Test series involving three or more Tests at least twice.
There is only one exception. Australia. India's 4-0 is the first time the Aussies got whitewashed after 1982. Now, the new millennium has seen the whitewash of all 10 Test nations!
India going 0-4 down twice was not at all unusual, but par for the course. The only reason it seemed alarming was because it happened so close together and also after India became the ICC No. 1 team, boasting of one of the greatest batting attacks of all time.
A look at the other teams that were whitewashed…
South Africa: When SA returned after the Apartheid years, they were seen as one of the toughest fighters in international cricket. When Steve Waugh's invincibles visited them in 2001, everyone expected an equal contest: This more so because Australia had gone down India 1-2 in the same year.
But nothing of the sort happened as Australia blanked SA 3-0 in three one-sided games. Shane Warne and Glenn McGrath emerged as the top wicket-takers while openers Mathew Hayden and Justin Langer the top batsmen across both teams.
This script repeated itself in 2006 when Ricky Ponting captained his team to a similar margin. After two easy wins, only the third Test was a thriller with Australia chasing 292 for victory. They were 275-8 at one stage with an injured Justin Langer uncertain of batting.
South Africa effectively needed one wicket, but Brett Lee hit the winning boundary for another Aussie whitewash.
England: This is the most inconsistent team in international cricket and it is evident in the Ashes. After losing two straight Ashes 1-4, 1-4, England made a comeback in 2005, defeating Australia 2-1 in a hard-fought series. The Poms celebrated as if they had won a football World Cup and soon disintegrated.
After failing to win a single series for more than a year, Australia annihilated them 5-0 the very next year!
England fell apart again after whitewashing India 4-0 to take the ICC No. 1 title. Since then they've lost to South Africa and narrowly drew the series with New Zealand. But their low point was losing to Pakistan 0-3, totally crumbling to spin, soon after becoming Test world champions.
Pakistan: This is one of the two teams to have got whitewashed a whopping four times in the new millennium. Pakistan played a neutral Test series with Australia in Colombo and Sharjah in 2002. One would have thought that they would have got a home advantage, but that was not to be as they went down 0-3.
What was the absolute pits was the second Test, where Pakistan was bowled out first for 59 and then for 53. That's 112/20. And to think Hayden scored 119 runs by himself in the match.
Australia repeated this in 2004-05 and 2009-10.
The script changed a bit in 2013, when it was South Africa’s turn to do a 3-0.
West Indies: West Indies is the other team to have gone down 4 times. Australia beat them 5-0 in 2000-01 and 3-0 in 2005. Sri Lanka beat them 3-0 in 2001 while England beat them 4-0 in 2004.
Sri Lanka: The island nation has been one of the most consistent nations with an admirable home record and a great ability by its batsmen to play long innings and ensure draws abroad. But this time again it's Australia which is the culprit.
Sri Lanka went down 0-3 twice, first at home in 2004 and away in 2012-13.
New Zealand: While the Kiwis are known as great fighters, they have also not escaped the whitewash. They have gone down 0-3 twice: The first to Australia in 2000 and then to England in 2004.
Both Bangladesh (0-3 to Lanka in 2007) and Zimbabwe (0-3 to Sri Lanka in 2001-02) feature only once in this list, but that’s because they play very few long Test series.
In being the whitewasher, no-one comes even close to Australia, which has inflicted whitewashes a whopping 12 times in the new millennium.
India can lay consolation to being the only current team to have whitewashed Australia!
The author is a Bengaluru-based journalist and blogger.
He blogs at http://sunilrajguru.com/