Virat Kohli's Adelaide memories: Three hundreds and a heartbreaking defeat
- Virat Kohli had scored a hundred in each innings in India's last Test at Adelaide Oval
- Despite Kohli's heroics, India lost the 1st Test of 2014-15 tour by 48 runs
- Kohli now returns to Adelaide as captain of the world's No.1 Test team
Virat Kohli will have fond memories of the Adelaide Oval as he gets ready to lead India in the Border-Gavaskar series opener on Thursday.
This is the same ground where Kohli led Team India for the first time in Test cricket four years ago. Back then, Kohli was just filling in for regular-skipper MS Dhoni, who was ruled out with a thumb injury.
The rare injury to Dhoni gave Kohli the chance to lead the side at the same venue, where he had also scored his maiden Test century in 2012. That match ended in a crushing 298-run loss for India.
Then came the Test match at the Adelaide Oval in 2014 and Kohli once again waged a lone battle for India.
Kohli loves to play against Australia and four years back, it was this very ground which changed his life forever.
The 2014 Adelaide Test match between the two sides was perhaps one of the greatest ever played in Border-Gavaskar series history with both teams fighting till the very end and it was Kohli who was leading the visitors from the front.
But even before the first ball was bowled, Kohli had won over the Australian crowd after he, along with coach Ravi Shastri, attended the funeral of late Aussie cricketer Phil Hughes.
The events which transpired before the Adelaide Test had taken the world by storm and the untimely departure of Hughes left everyone shocked and saddened. The whole cricketing fraternity was left heartbroken after Hughes's death and there was a sense of sorrow and grief even as the match started on December 9.
Australia scored a mammoth 517 for 7 in their first innings thanks to centuries from David Warner (145), Steve Smith (162 not out) and Michael Clarke (128).
But India gave a tough fight and replied with 444 runs, riding on captain Kohli's 115 and significant contributions from Cheteshwar Pujara (73), Ajinkya Rahane (62) and Murali Vijay (53).
The hosts had to bat again and they declared at 290 for 5 with Warner scoring his second successive hundred en route his 166-ball 102.
That meant India had to chase down 365 in 98 overs. The visitors had a terrible start and were in trouble at 2 for 57 and that is when Kohli stepped in and joined forces with Vijay to lead India's fightback.
Vijay fell short of his hundred by 1 run while Kohli made a valiant 141 but the knocks went in vain as India got bowled out for 315. If only Kohli had received any support from the other batsmen, India would have achieved the unthinkable.
But even in defeat, the whole cricketing fraternity got to witness the legend of Kohli, which has only grown since then. The way he batted and went after the target spoke volumes of the kind of mindset he enters the field with.
When he walked off the field it seemed like Australia had won the war but Kohli's India had won the battle.
Kohli continued his form with the bat and smashed a total of 692 runs in the four-match series, bettered only by Smith with 769 runs.
Since that Test match, Kohli has gone on to score a staggering 4220 runs in 43 Test matches with 16 hundreds and six double centuries. Along the way he also dethroned Smith from the top spot in the ICC Test rankings for batsmen.
Kohli has now come to Australia with 992 runs under his belt in the country at an average of 62 with five centuries in total. But more importantly, Kohli has led India in 41 Test since Adelaide 2014 and is the second most successful captain for India in the format behind Dhoni.
What is also different this time around is that his team is being labelled as the favourites to win the series in the absence of Smith and Warner.
But India's chances of winning the series depends a lot on how many runs Kohli scores in this series.
Even if he manages to come close to what he did here four years back, and with the bowling attack that India has at the moment, don't be surprised if Kohli becomes the first Indian captain to lift the Border-Gavaskar trophy down under on January 7, 2019.