Adelaide, Trent Bridge and Johannesburg. These three venues saw India securing wins in Tests in 2018. When India won the first Test against Australia by 31 runs, Virat Kohli became the first Asian captain to win Tests in South Africa, England and Australia in the same calendar year. The fact that India has secured wins in these venues is also poetic justice. These three venues have a history of giving Indian cricket their most memorable moments in the past. Every time India has registered a win at these three venues, their confidence and performances have received a tremendous boost.
If one has to look at the Adelaide Oval, in the modern era, it has given India plenty of cheer. It was in 2003 that Rahul Dravid’s brilliant knocks of 233 and 72* helped India win a Test in Australia for the first time in 22 years. The four-wicket win helped India take the lead against Australia in their home conditions for the first time ever. They went on to draw the series 1-1. In 2018, Cheteshwar Pujara, considered to be the understudy of Rahul Dravid, smashed a century and a fifty as India not only won a Test Down Under after 10 years but they won the first Test of the series for the first time ever.
In 1978, the Adelaide Oval could have been the sight of India’s greatest cricketing achievement when they set out to chase 493 in the fifth and final Test against a weakened Australia side. However, they fell short by just 47 runs as they lost the hard-fought series 2-3. If Adelaide 2003 gave India the supreme confidence to compete against Australia, then Adelaide 2018 has probably given Kohli’s side the impetus to pursue their first Test series win in Australia.
Glory in Trent Bridge
If Adelaide has provided moments of brilliance for India in Australia, then Trent Bridge has been India’s fortress in England. In the modern era, this venue has been the only shining beacon for India and has given the side something to cheer about in England.
After losing their first Test in 1959 by an innings, India did not play a Test till 1996 and when they did, the England crowd was treated to a magnificent display by Sourav Ganguly (177) and Sachin Tendulkar (136). In 2002, Rahul Dravid’s epic rearguard knock of 115 helped India draw the Test and it gave them confidence to secure a famous win in Leeds. However, their crowning glory came in 2007. After escaping with a draw in Lord’s, Zaheer Khan’s magnificent 5/75 helped India win in Trent Bridge for the first time and it was enough to help them win a series in England for the first time in 21 years.
Despite a loss in 2011, India had two moments to smile in 2014, one was the win at Lord’s and the draw in Trent Bridge. In 2018, with India trailing 0-2, Kohli produced another knock for the ages with 97 and 103 on a difficult pitch as India won by 203 runs to keep their dream of coming back in the series alive. With India winning just three Tests in England in the last 22 years, this venue has been the shining light amidst the dark clouds.
Taming the ‘Bull’ Ring
India’s record in South Africa is equally poor, having managed just three wins in 27 years. However, out of those three wins, two have come in Johannesburg, a venue where they have enjoyed unprecedented success. They have played five Tests and remained unbeaten. Their crowning moment came in 2006 when they defeated South Africa by 123 runs to record their first-ever Test win in the country. In 2018, on a difficult deck, India registered their second win after losing the Cape Town and Centurion Tests.
In addition to victories, the ground has seen some memorable achievements. Dravid scored his first international Test century at this venue in 1997 and had it not been for a freak bout of rain, India would have broken their hoodoo at that time. Ganguly’s career was revived with attacking knocks at this venue while pace bowlers like Sreesanth, Jasprit Bumrah and Mohammed Shami have all made their mark at this venue.
A win in Johannesburg and Trent Bridge did not yield long-term success for India in past tours. One hopes that Adelaide 2018 lays the foundation in which India break their jinx overseas and win on a regular basis.