January 7, 2019, remains a glorious date in the history of Indian cricket. It was on this day, that an aggressive Indian side led by Virat Kohli shocked the Australians on their home soil in Test cricket. For the first time, a touring Asian team had defeated them in a Test series. No doubt that the series triumph remains a historical feat in the record books and is probably the biggest achievement of Virat Kohli as a captain.
A triumph that will be remembered for long
Australia have always been a formidable opponent and in their own backyard, a team needs to come up with a miracle to boss over them. That miracle happened when Virat Kohli and his men went down in 2018 with high hopes to achieve the impossible. Australia were missing their Top 2 players Steve Smith and David Warner who were serving a ban on being involved in the sandpaper gate scandal. Despite their absence, the Australian team were a mighty squad with one of the best bowling lineups in the world.
India had previously toured South Africa and England in that year and despite being on the losing side on both trips, the team showed a lot of spirit and character. Head Coach Ravi Shastri and captain Virat Kohli had aimed to make the current Indian team be the best travelers in the world across all formats and in Australia, they had a point to prove.
A tight tussle, but the better team won
India won the 1st and 3rd Test in Adelaide and Melbourne respectively and drew the final match to clinch a 2-1 series victory over the hosts. The pace battery comprising the trio of Bumrah-Shami-Ishant went all guns blazing, making optimum use of the Australian tracks and leaving the opponent batters in a fix. Bumarah took a special 6 wicket haul in the Boxing Day Test at the iconic MCG, Shami pull off a 6 wicket haul in Perth, a 5-for for Kuldeep Yadav in SCG – clearly the bowlers were on top of the Aussie batters and were the leading men in the triumph.
Pujara stood tall, bowlers outclassed the hosts
But the man who stole the show was the New Wall of Indian Cricket, Cheteshwar Pujara. Pujara scored hundreds in Adelaide and SCG and was the rock for his team that the Aussie bowlers failed to shake. He tired the bowlers in every Test keeping the batting unit together and preventing a collapse.
He has deservedly adjudged the Player of the Match in Adelaida and SCG and the Player Of The Series award for his magical performance. Pant too, became the sensation of the series who showed that despite being known for his heroics in T20Is, the southpaw has the potential to excel in the red-ball format.
The win was satisfying for the Indian dressing room as, after two setbacks in South Africa and England, the team finally closed on to its dream and shattered age-old records on its way. Since then, the team has been an invincible side in Tests, who could beat any opposite irrespective of the conditions.
India repeated their stellar performance of 2018-19 once again in 2020-21, proving the caliber of the team. India currently sits on the top of the ICC Test rankings and continues to reach new milestones in the oldest and toughest format of the sport.
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