IND vs AUS: Series win will come at Sydney Cricket Ground, says Virat Kohli

Updated: Dec 31, 2018, 20:39 IST | R Kaushik | Melbourne

After taking 2-1 lead in the Test series, thanks to a thumping 137-run victory in Melbourne that helped India retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, captain Virat Kohli declares...

India captain Virat Kohli is ecstatic after winning the third Test v Australia in Melbourne. Pic/AFP
India captain Virat Kohli is ecstatic after winning the third Test v Australia in Melbourne. Pic/AFP

India had several heroes on their road to victory in the Boxing Day Test yesterday. Jasprit Bumrah was the foremost with a match haul of nine for 86, Cheteshwar Pujara held the batting together with a masterly 106 and Virat Kohli showed his versatility with a carefully crafted 82, both in the Indian first innings.

Mayank Agarwal, the debutant opener, didn't have a shabby game either. On his first day in Test cricket, he made a splendid 76, then held three excellent catches close-in, remained unflustered in the second innings when wickets tumbled around him to conjure a stylish 42, and looked as if he was a seasoned veteran. None of this was lost on Kohli as he reflected on the 137-run win that has given India 2-1 lead going into the final Test of a series in Australia for the first time. "Jasprit has been playing for 12 months. (But) Mayank's composure, his intent and belief, it was a huge boost for us," the Indian skipper said yesterday.

"The way he batted at the top of the order on the first day was praiseworthy because it is not easy to come to Australia and start like that, and start against such a bowling attack. He should also get a lot of credit for the win. Jasprit is the best bowler in the world, as per me. He is a match-winner, without doubt. But Mayank's contribution was also special."

Kohli has spoken all year long of the significance of winning overseas; the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) win was India's fourth in 11 Tests in 2018. "We are very happy, we will take the (Border-Gavaskar) trophy back home regardless of what happens in the last Test," he pointed out, adding, "although our aim is to win the series here, which is what we came here thinking. That hasn't changed, regardless of whatever has happened. But it is important to realise this moment and it is important to understand how much hard work we have put in to reach this scoreline. We have to appreciate that as a whole team.

"We don't want to just talk and win one game and be like, 'Oh we played so well in Australia'. It's all about the team. If you see the bowlers, they are not trying to outdo someone else. It is a team effort, at the end of the day. When it comes together nicely, when it gets you results, it feels wonderful. That's what you play cricket for, right? You don't play to just play well, you play to win. So it feels good to have those results go our way."

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