They started the year conquering fortress Gabba and ended it breaching fortress Centurion. Team India couldn’t have asked for a better calendar year and the year 2021 will forever stand as the epitome of the dominance of this present Indian side. And looking back at the memorable 2021, India Test skipper Virat Kohli gave his verdict on India’s performance in the calendar year.
Beating Australia by three wickets, in the absence of more than half of their regular Test XI, India scripted their maiden test victory in Gabba and became the first ever cricket team to breach the fortress since 1988. With the win India retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy for the second consecutive time, having previously claimed the trophy with their historic Test win in 2018/19 tour of Australia.
India then travelled to England and claimed twin victories on either side of London – at the iconic Lord’s and the Oval – to claim an unassailable 2-1 lead in the series before a Covid outbreak halted the contest and postponed the final tie for 2022. Kohli’s men then travelled to the other side of the planet, to South Africa and claimed their maiden Test victory in Centurion, becoming the first Asian side to win at the venue, breaking the hosts’ seven-match winning streak.
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“New Year is a very good time to look back and analyse how you played your cricket. And I think we played some outstanding cricket, now just this year, but over the last two three years, especially overseas. We are a side who are getting better and gaining more confident with how much cricket we play. It feels amazing to be 1-0 up. Sets up wonderfully for the Wanderers,” Kohli said on BCCI.tv.
Talking about the Centurion win where India scripted a 113-run victory, Kohli admitted that the win displayed India’s strength as a Test playing nation and feels good about the visitors taking a 1-0 lead in the series.
“Test series in South Africa or in any place is not easy and Centurion is obviously the most difficult of them all. We ended up getting a result within four days which is a testamony to the fact that we have become the side which we are today and the strength of the squad was on full display. We were just looking for opportunities to win the game. That’s how we play our cricket now. And given an opportunity at any given stage we will bounce back. It is a beautiful position to be in, to be 1-0 up away from home with the opposition under pressure in the second Test as well is a golden opportunity and I’m absolutely certain that all the players will be looking forward to it and we can wait for Jo’burg,” he added.
India will play the second Test starting January 3 at the Wanderers in Johannesburg. Kohli’s men will be aiming to become the first Indian side to win a Tests series in South Africa in eight attempts and second Asian side after Sri Lanka.