Ever since the first innings of India folded at 105 on Day 2, one thing that seemed in constant jeopardy was the unbeaten streak that Virat Kohli had proudly protected for 19 matches. But when India lost the Test at Pune by 333 runs and Virat Kohli tasted only his second defeat as a full-time Test captain, the unbeaten streak was finally broken.
Coincidentally, Australia too enjoyed a similar streak of 18 unbeaten matches between September 1999 and Mar 2001. And now it is Australia again who ended India’s unbeaten streak. It may be recalled here that Steve Smith had earlier stated that this series would be a evenly contested and they had the intention of stopping India’s current run of form.
19 matches was India’s longest unbeaten streak in Tests, going past their 17 match streak between September 1985 and March 1987. The current sequence started off with a 278-run win in Colombo after which they added 13 more wins. The previous longest sequence had just four wins, a tie and a 12 draws. India reached the number nineteen Tests under Virat Kohli’s captaincy after they romped home to 208-run victory over Bangladesh.
India last tasted a home defeat in Tests in the defeat against England in Kolkata in 2012. The only longer sequence came between January 1977 and January 1980, when India played 20 Tests at home, winning six and drawing 14. However, since then, India have won 17 Tests and drawn 3 others.
The fact that only four other teams have managed to string together such a run in the 140-year history of Test cricket puts in perspective India’s prolific run.
The Indian team, enroute to its golden run, had set new records one of which now was that they had won the last six Test series they competed in – a feat no other Indian team of the past had been able to achieve. India’s longest series-winning-streak previously was five Test series – achieved between October 2008 and January 2010.
However, this is not the end of the road for Team India as they will look to bounce back in the next match. With the weight of protecting the streak now gone, India can come back harder at their opponents.