#INDvAUS 2nd Test: Virat Kohli terms Bengaluru win as the best of his career as captain – India captain says the partnership between Pujara and Rahane was crucial in bringing the hosts back in the game
India captain Virat Kohli celebrates with teammates after dismissing Australia captain Steve Smith in Bengaluru on Tuesday (AFP)
This match had everything to make it one of the best adverts of Test cricket: ultra-competitive juices, wickets, runs, skillful bowling, gritty partnerships, drama and banter. Not to forget the touch of controversy to top it all.
The counter-punch of winning this Test couldn't have been timed better by India, coming after a lackluster show in Pune and with two Tests still to go in this mouth-watering four-match encounter.
Virat Kohli and his troops proved that the first Test was nothing but a minor dip in their ever-rising upward curve, and the dream that Aussies were daring to live about retaining the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after Pune will have to be lived fighting for every inch in Ranchi and Dharamshala.
Just like how India did here.
"Till now, this is the best (Test win as captain)," India captain Virat Kohli said. "It was quite an emotional game for us, quite draining as well. Everyone got along together, we showed the team spirit."
Team spirit was the big word for Kohli, for the Aussies – Nathan Lyon, in particular – were talking about taking the snake's head off to make it fall. Lyon was referring to having succeeded in keeping the India captain quiet with the bat in the four innings so far.
But Kohli knows his team is much more than just himself. The snake can attack even without the power of its head.
"A lot of people were talking about the head of the snake, but I think the snake did pretty well by itself, so it's not just about one individual. I'm pretty happy if they keep focussing on the head of the snake, and the snake can sting from a lot of directions. I think some people need to keep that in mind. But I thought (this was) the sweetest victory for us," Kohli said.
A repeat of Pune was looming large after yet another disastrous performance by India with the bat in the first innings, getting skittled out for 189 and allowing the Australian openers to score 40 for no loss at stumps on Day One.
But Kohli believed the momentum swung towards the hosts when his bowling unit gave away just 47 runs in the first session of second day's play and picked up two wickets, the biggies David Warner and Steve Smith.
"I think the first session on Day Two – we gave away only 45-odd runs and picked up two wickets when they could have taken the game away from us – they were 40 without loss (overnight). I think that was probably the momentum change that we needed, and throughout the day we didn't give more than 200 runs, we picked up six wickets. I think that for us was quite important," he said.
Once the mission of restricting Australia's lead was met, India sought their batters to put their hands up. And they found not one but two in Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane, with their 118-run partnership in the second innings taking the game beyond Australia's hands.
"I feel that the partnership between Ajinkya and Pujara, in a situation where the momentum was against us in the series, was outstanding. In the last two years, it's one of the top two partnerships, or maybe number one.
Because retrieving the lost momentum and giving the team the lead was a question of character, and they both showed why they are India's best Test batsmen," Kohli said.
And this is the best Test team. Aussies, watch out.
Kohli hits back at Healy's 'lost respect' jibe
Virat Kohli hit back at former Australia wicketkeeper Ian Healy's 'lost respect' remark against the Indian, saying the man should look into the mirror. "(I'll lose respect) in his eyes? We've got 1.2 billion people in India. One person doesn't make a difference to my life. And also I think you should go and search on YouTube, when he was given out in Centurion, down the leg side. I heard he said something about me not having good behaviour with umpires. I think you all should YouTube that video and I think that says it all," Kohli said. The incident Kohli is talking about happened in 1997, when Australia played a Test against South Africa in Centurion. Healy was given out caught behind down the leg side, and unhappy with the decision, Healy threw his bat on the stairs while walking back to the dressing room, while also shouting "bull**** umpiring". Healy was subsequently suspended for two matches.