When the umpires called off play on the final day in the Sydney Test, there was immense jubilation in the Indian cricket team. Virat Kohli’s side had done what no other Indian or Asian team had ever achieved in their history and that was a Test series win against Australia Down Under. With the final day getting washed out, India had officially clinched the series 2-1 ensuring they had eliminated 71 years of pain in Australia. This fact was not lost on Kohli, who was visibly emotional and hailed it as one of his biggest triumphs, even greater than the 2011 World Cup victory under MS Dhoni.
“Only one word to say, I'm proud. To lead these players is an honour and a privilege. They make the captain look good. Definitely deserve to enjoy this moment. By far this is my best achievement. (This) has to be on top of the pile. When we won the World Cup, I was the youngest member of the side. I saw the others getting emotional but I didn't really feel what they felt. But having been to this country thrice now and to understand that what we've done has never been done. This series will give us a different identity as a team,” Kohli said.
This is Kohli’s third tour Down Under, having first made it to the country under MS Dhoni in 2011/12. It was a series where India was whitewashed 4-0. In the 2014/15 series, Kohli smashed centuries in both innings in Adelaide and hit tons in Melbourne and Sydney but India still lost the series 0-2, despite him scoring 692 runs at an average of 86. Finally, in 2018/19, Kohli has achieved a feat that will soothe the pain of previous overseas losses. The achievement of the team is also phenomenal, considering that teams which included legendary stars like Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev, Ajit Wadekar, Nawab of Pataudi, Vijay Merchant, Vijay Hazare, Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly could not win a series Down Under.
In the Melbourne Test, the Indian pace trio of Jasprit Bumrah, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma scripted history by becoming the most lethal trio in Tests, taking the most number of wickets in the calendar year by overtaking the previous record set by Michael Holding, Joel Garner and Malcolm Marshall in 1984. Kohli praised the contributions of the bowlers, stating the series win was possible due to the ability of the pacers to take 20 wickets on a consistent basis.
“They've worked on their fitness levels. They don't look at a pitch and think there's nothing for us. It's a revelation for Indian cricket and learning for the other bowlers back home. These guys are going to be looked up to for a long, long time. They definitely deserve to be here and breaking record of the great West Indian fast bowlers is no mean feat. Definitely, this is just the stepping stone for us,” Kohli said.
It was at Sydney that Kohli was annointed with permanent Test captaincy and it is at the very ground that he created an epic chapter in Indian cricket history. "Our transition started here when I became the captain for the first time. Only one word to say, I'm proud. To lead these players is an honour and a privilege. They make the captain look good. Definitely deserve to enjoy this moment," Kohli said.