December 9, 2014, the Australian cricket team stepped on the field with tears in their eyes as the black bands on their arms were highlighted. The cricketing world had been in grief with the untimely passing of Australia’s Phil Hughes who was struck on the head in a county match.
Several international cricketers showed their respect as the Aussies braced the tough time. To show respect, the New Zealand bowlers only bowled two bouncers in a day against Pakistan.
Despite the scenario, the Border-Gavaskar trophy began as per schedule and the heated off-field confrontations took the centre stage as the Kangaroos challenged Virat Kohli’s side.
At Adelaide, the test began in sorrow, Michael Clarke’s Australia batted first as the sun was out, the pitch was expected to play in the batsman’s favour. Australia was off to a flying start as David Warner smashed the ball to all parts of the ground.
Warner scored a quickfire ton as he jumped with joy, he looked towards the sky as he dedicated the ton to his friend, Phil Hughes. Michael Clarke and Steven Smith also scored centuries as Australia marched on to a massive total.
The hosts declared their innings on 517 for 7. India’s Mohammad Shami, Varun Aaron, and Karn Sharma picked two wickets each as the Aussie batsman dominated the proceedings.
On the second day, it was India’s chance to surprise the visitors. Australia’s bowling line-up was one of the best in world cricket, Mitchell Johnson sent the England batsmen packing in the recently concluded Ashes series.
Johnson, with his fearsome bowling, scalped 37 wickets in 5 matches. Australia also had Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle in their ranks albeit spinner Nathan Lyon did the trick on a pitch which assisted him on all the days.
India started steadily as they lost their second wicket at the score of 111, with the burden of captaincy on his shoulders, a 26-year-old Virat Kohli walked out to bat as the crowd cheered for Johnson.
Virat Kohli was ready to face the first ball as Mitchell Johnson steamed in with all cylinders firing. Kohli was welcomed with a bouncer, the ball hit his helmet and the Australians immediately went to Kohli, the Indian Captain was shaken by the blow to the head.
“You don’t lose because you fall, you lose because you refuse to rise”, Virat went down on his knees only to rise higher, higher than any day, higher than the Aussies.
Kohli stood back on his feet as he gave a stare to Johnson, Kohli continued as I heard my dad say, “aaj ye century maarega”(he’ll score a century today), the intent was visible in his eyes. The cover drive, the hook, the pull, he had it all in his armoury as he continued on his merry way, we were witnessing Kohli, the Champion.
“Have to play with passion and commitment”: Virat Kohli
Kohli’s century in the first inning delighted every Indian fan but India fell short of Australia’s first inning score. Australia batted again and a repeat of the first innings followed, David Warner scored another quickfire hundred as he looked up to the sky.
India had to chase a humungous total of 364 runs to win the test match. The spectators expected India to play for the draw but Kohli could sight glory from a distance as his side decided to play for the win.
In the process, the Indian team lost two quick wickets as they were reduced to 57 for 2. In walked Captain Kohli, the fear in Australia’s body language was speaking volumes of Kohli’s stature in international cricket. Vijay alongside Kohli stitched a 185-run-partnership to bring the game in India’s favour.
Vijay succumbed as Lyon dismissed him on 99, the rest of the batting line-up fell like a pack of cards but one man stood, it was the king, King Kohli.
Kohli fought the battle alone as Nathan Lyon rattled through the Indian batting line-up. Captain Charismatic scored 141 off 175 balls, he pulled a good length delivery from Lyon, Kohli was caught, India’s hope diminished as the Australian side had a sigh of relief.
Kohli’s side was bundled out for 315, they fell 48 runs short of Australia’s score but the intent and determination they carried throughout the game was commendable. For a moment, the Indian fans thought that they were watching glimpses of the 2001 Kolkata test as the aggressive Kohli matched fire with fire, like a former Indian captain. “It was a great game of cricket, I’m proud of my boys”, said Captain Kohli in the post-match presentation.