It is time for Kohli & Co. to end India’s 70-year wait.India appear to have all their bases covered. Australia have not only slipped to No. 5 in Test rankings but are also struggling as a group. To make matters worse, they will be without two of their premier batsmen – Steve Smith and David Warner – who are still serving a one-year ban following their role in the ball-tampering saga in Cape Town.
The Aussies have lost an unprecedented 12 of their last 26 Tests.They say,to make history,at times you have to disregard it.Kohli,a quintessential modern-day pro,does not believe in carrying baggage from the past. The onus will be on his team to make sure that India’s ‘Navy Blue’shines brighter than the Australian ‘Baggy Green’.
The closest India came to breaching the ‘Final Frontier’ was in 2003-04 when, under Sourav Ganguly, they nearly pulled of a series-clinching victory in the fourth and final Test in Sydney. They were, however, denied by a gritty partnership between Steve Waugh and Simon Katich and had to settle for a share of the honours (1-1).
The ensuing series represents a fresh opportunity for India to become the first team from the sub-continent to register a series win in Australia. India and Pakistan have failed to do so on 11 tours each that they have undertaken since attaining Test status in 1932 and 1952-53, respectively. While Pakistan have three drawn series and just four Test wins to show for their efforts, India have shared the series honours twice (1980-81 and 2003-04) and won five of the 44 Tests they have played Down Under.
The beginning of a new Test series is always pregnant with possibilities. If the build-up to the ensuing four-match series between India and Australia is anything to go by, the smart money is on Virat Kohli and his mates delivering India’s maiden Test series victory Down Under.
The optimism is based on hard facts grounded in reality.Since the beginning of the Kohli era in 2014-15, India have won 26 of the 46 Tests en route to becoming the No. 1 side in the game’s longest format. Fuelled by a strong show in home conditions, India have also won 11 of their last 15 Tests during this period.
The only downside to this glowing piece of statistics is India’s record in Australia, South Africa and England which hasn’t shown much improvement even under Kohli.
Away Test wins are like gold dust in Indian cricket and in spite of outplaying Sri Lanka and West Indies in home and away series and displaying marginal improvement on the tour
of South Africa and England earlier this year – where they won a Test match each – the Indian team failed miserably in their mission. A series win in Australia will be a big deal,
especially as all international teams have historically struggled to rein in the hosts.