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October 20, 2019

Kohli keeps shining


October 20, 2019

India have ended Australia’s dominance in Test cricket. They won their 11th consecutive home Test series when they beat South Africa by an innings and 137 runs in the second Test in Pune. During the second Test, India forced South Africa to follow on for the first time in history.

It was the seventh instance of India enforcing follow-on under Virat Kohli. Five of those decisions resulted in wins. Two matches were drawn.

India surpassed the record of 10 consecutive home Test series wins held by Australia, who did so twice, between November 1994 and January 2001, and between July 2004 and December 2008.

India’s run of consecutive Test series wins at home began with the 4-0 win in the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in 2012-13. England were the last visiting side to win a series in India, in December 2012. Since then men in the blue have been unbeaten on their soil.

India have won 25 of their last 32 Tests at home. They lost just one, against Australia in 2017 in Pune.

Australia are behind India with a 23-4 win-loss record in the same period. No other top-ranked team has lost less than three Tests at home since 2013.

Kohli was the captain in eight series out of the 11 consecutive Test series wins. MS Dhoni was captain in two and Ajinkya Rahane in one.

Under the leadership of Virat, India have won 30 out of 50 Tests. Only two captains have had more wins than Kohli in their first 50 Tests as captains. Australia’s former captain Steve Waugh won 37 and Ricky Ponting 35. Kohli won 17 of 23 Tests played in India and 13 out of 27 abroad.

With the career-best 254 in the second Test, Kohli is now close to the top position in the ICC Test batsmen ranking. Kohli is second with 936 points, only one point behind Australia’s Steven Smith.

Kohli had lost the top spot in Test cricket to Smith who scored over 700 runs in just seven innings during the Ashes this year. He has the opportunity to surpass Smith in the ongoing third Test against South Africa in Ranchi.

The double hundred in the second Test was his 19th as captain. Only former South African captain Graeme Smith is ahead of him with 25 hundred as Test captain. Former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting also scored 19 centuries as skipper.

Kohli has now scored seven double tons in Tests which is the most by any Indian player. He also became the first Indian captain to score 250-plus runs in Test cricket.

India have always been a batting powerhouse. Their failure abroad in the ‘80s and ‘90s was due to their weak bowling, especially in pace department. But today they have a potent pace bowling attack with the likes of Ishanth Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvaneswar Kumar, Mohammad Shami and Jasprit Bumrah.

India have been the top-ranked team in the ICC Test Championship since October 11, 2016, when they beat New Zealand 3-0 in.

On the other hand, it was South Africa’s first Test loss by an innings margin in last nine years. They last lost a Test by an innings in 2010, also against India, in Kolkata.

The loss in the second Test was South Africa’s sixth consecutive Test loss away. Their first loss was against England in 2017. It is South Africa’s longest run of away defeat since re-admission in 1992.

South Africa have been struggling for some time. If batsmen don’t score enough runs, event the best bowlers cannot help you win matches. During the tour of India, South African batting has looked fragile. It has failed to give enough runs to the bowlers to defend.

The retirement of AB de Villiers, Hashim Amla, Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel has left a huge impact on South Africa. This squad is lacking quality players. They seriously need to stretch out their batting lineup like England and India who have depth in their batting. Although Kagiso Rabada is a great fast bowler, he can’t win matches alone.

In the World Cup 2019, South Africa failed to qualify for the semi-finals as they won only three out of nine matches.

NOTE: All statistics are updated till the end of the second Test between India and South Africa.

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