Mumbai: India captain Virat Kohli on Monday termed the Test cricket series triumph against England as the “sweetest” in recent times after his side pocketed the rubber, winning three Tests on the trot following the draw in the opener.
This win is also significant for Kohli, who was captaining India for the first time in a bilateral series against England. Kohli’s predecessor Mahendra Singh Dhoni had captained India in three consecutive Test series losses against England in 2011, 2012 (home series) and 2014.
Hence, the series win, coming after wins over well-credential sides like South Africa, New Zealand and the West Indies, also elevates the fast-rising captaincy glory of Kohli.
“It’s a very special feeling. The way the crowd came out here and supported, it helped us push through the tough moments,” Kohli said after the match.
“This series win is probably the sweetest (success) in the past 14-15 months.”
Coming into the penultimate match at the Wankhede Stadium, India were leading the series 2-0 and continued the momentum by thrashing England by an innings and 36 runs in the fourth Test.
The Englishmen had registered a healthy total of 400 all out in the first innings but India amassed a huge 631, thanks to Kohli’s splendid 235. The visitors failed to rise to the occasion and were bowled out for 195 in the morning session of the fifth day.
Apart from Kohli, the stand-out performers were off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin (12 wickets in the match), opening batsman Murali Vijay (136 in the first innings) and all-rounder Jayant Yadav (104 in first innings).
Jayant Yadav shared a 241-run stand with Kohli for the eighth wicket as their partnership swelled India’s lead to 231 runs.
Praising the whole team, Kohli said that the 231-run lead played a crucial factor in denting the confidence of Alastair Cook’s team.
“The 231-run lead deflated the opposition. We saw their body language and knew the game was wrapped up when we had that lead,” Kohli said.
“The credit goes to everyone. Vijay played a champion knock and it speaks volumes of his character. For Jayant, too, it couldn’t have been any better. I was pretty focused on this game, a chance to seal the series. The plan was to get stuck in, I got away quickly,” the 28-year-old added.
“We are running out of words to describe Ashwin. The batsmen have played second fiddle to his performances.”