On Monday morning, January 7, 2019, the Indian Test cricket team led by Virat Kohli made history their own. After the first session of the fifth day of the Sydney Test match in the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar series was rained out, it was official – India wins a Test series (2-1) in Australia.
An Asian cricket team triumphing Down Under, for the first time in the history of cricket. If there was ever a “first,” this was it. If not for the weather, India might have even won the fourth Test for a deserving 3-1 scoreline. The Australians were outplayed in 3 out of 4 matches, and if not for Pat Cummins’ exceptional all-round performance, things could have been worse for the hosts. Except for Perth, there were no hiccups by an Indian team that worked very hard to make sure that they wouldn’t miss the opportunities they missed in England and South Africa in 2018. And so, after losing 2-1 in South Africa and 4-1 in England, having some bad luck with tosses, making iffy selection calls and misreading pitches and conditions, the team finally achieved what it was capable of. South Africa remains the only Test-playing nation left for India to conquer. For most bleary-eyed Indian cricket fans who have spent decades waking up at 5 AM every four years to catch Aussie domination and Boxing Day agony, this is redemption.
With no more Test matches for another 7 months, let’s take a look at the statistics, good and bad, of India’s most historical Test achievement in the modern era:
72: Number of years it has taken for an Indian, and Asian, test team to win a series in Australia. This included 31 series and 98 Test matches (only 11 won and 66 lost).
71: Number of seconds during the Sandpaper Gate scandal last year it took hardcore Indian fans to conclude that this would be India’s best chance to win a series in Australia
74: Pujara’s average in the series
57: Number of total runs scored by opener KL Rahul in the three Tests he played
1: Only one player was part of the squad in the famous 2003-04 series that India drew 1-1 with a mighty Australian side – Parthiv Patel
1: This was Cheteshwar Pujara’s first ever Man of the Series award in Test cricket, despite having 18 Test centuries to his name now. After being dropped in South Africa and for the first test in England, Pujara has established himself as the team’s most reliable batsman.
6: This is India’s sixth series win in a SENA (South Africa, England, New Zealand and Australia) country. 0 in SA, 3 in ENG, 2 in NZ and 1 in AUS.
4: Number of overseas series victories by captain Virat Kohli, now equal with Sourav Ganguly.
5: India became only the fifth team to win a Test series in Australia, after West Indies, England, New Zealand, and South Africa.
5: This was Australia’s fifth Test series defeat as a host since 2007 (3 to SA, 1 to ENG, 1 to IND), the maximum series defeats suffered by a home team among all the first-tier Test-playing nations in this millennium. Only a weak West Indies side has lost more series at home.
1258: Number of balls faced by batsman Pujara in the 4-match Test series, a record for the maximum balls ever faced by a visiting batsman in Australia. He scored 521 runs, including 3 centuries and 1 fifty.
31: Sydney was the first time in 31 years Australia was forced to follow on in a Test match in their own backyard. The last time they followed on overseas was in England during the famous 2005 Ashes series.
21: Number of wickets picked up by pacer Jasprit Bumrah, the joint-highest with spinner Nathan Lyon, in his first Test series in Australia.
350: Number of runs scored by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant in the series, second in the list behind Pujara. Pant became the first Indian keeper ever to score a Test century in England and Australia. He is only 21. And this was only his second full Test series.
195: Number of runs scored by opener Mayank Agarwal in his first two career Test matches.