Dom­i­nant In­dia win first-ever Test se­ries in Aus­tralia

The Financial Daily - - CONTINUATIONS -

Vi­rat Kohli's dom­i­nant In­dia re­in­forced their sta­tus as the world's num­ber one team by win­ning a his­toric first-ever se­ries in Aus­tralia on Mon­day in an achieve­ment the skip­per called the big­gest of his sto­ried ca­reer.

Aus­tralia were still 316 in ar­rears in Syd­ney when the match was called off due to rain on day five, leav­ing In­dia with a 2-1 tri­umph af­ter wins in Ade­laide and Mel­bourne. Aus­tralia won in Perth.

“I want to say I've never been more proud of be­ing part of a team, than this one right here,” said an over­joyed Kohli, widely con­sid­ered per­haps the great­est player of his gen­er­a­tion.

Their 2-1 tri­umph achieved what no other In­dian side has man­aged since they started tour­ing to Aus­tralia in 1947-48, with the foun­da­tions for suc­cess laid not in the first Test at Ade­laide, but on their tour of South Africa last year.

It was there, and the sub­se­quent tour of Eng­land, that he and coach Ravi Shas­tri iden­ti­fied the at­tack­ing brand of cricket that they wanted to play, all in prepa­ra­tion for Aus­tralia.

“We wanted to ex­per­i­ment with com­bi­na­tions and find out what suits the team best and take it for­ward from there,” said coach Ravi Shas­tri.

“So we learned a heck of a lot in South Africa, we learned a lot in Eng­land. We made mis­takes, which we didn't make in this se­ries. We learned from those mis­takes."

In­dia lost 2-1 in Tests to South Africa in Jan­uary last year, and were then out­played in Eng­land 4-1.

“So the most sat­is­fy­ing part of it [win­ning in Aus­tralia] was it was a team work­ing to­wards this goal over the last 12 months,” said Shas­tri.

That jour­ney has led to In­dia boast­ing one of the most fear­some bowl­ing at­tacks in the world, with the break­throughs of speed­ster Jasprit Bum­rah and spin­ner Kuldeep Ya­dav.

While In­dia's bat­ting in Aus­tralia was a class above, an­chored by Kohli and Chetesh­war Pu­jara, it was the con­sis­tency of the bowl­ing that made the dif­fer­ence, with no Aus­tralian bats­men scor­ing a cen­tury.

“The way the bowlers have dic­tated and dom­i­nated, not here but also in Eng­land and South Africa, it's some­thing I haven't seen be­fore,” said Kohli.

“Hats off to them, the way they've pre­pared, their fit­ness lev­els, and their mind­set.”

So im­por­tant was the win that Kohli, the best bats­men in the world in all three for­mats, placed it above be­ing part of the In­dian team that won the 2011 World Cup.

“It's ob­vi­ously a very proud mo­ment. More so be­cause for the last 12 months we un­der­stand what we have gone through as a team, we un­der­stand the kind of cricket we have been able to play,” he said.

“The fact that the re­ward has come in the most his­toric se­ries for In­dian cricket is the cherry on top of the cake.” 'Step­ping stone'

And while ac­co­lades will in­evitably fall on Kohli, he has con­sis­tently stressed through the se­ries that it can never be about one per­son. “It was a team ef­fort through and through and that's what we strive for. We strive to play well as a team,” he said.

“Sin­gle in­nings and sin­gle spells don't win games of Test cricket. We play to make the team win.” In­dia was al­ready the num­ber one team in the world be­fore the se­ries be­gan, with the win only shoring up their for­mi­da­ble rep­u­ta­tion.-Agen­cies

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