The Indian men’s team is in its 90th year of international cricket, having played its maiden Test match against England in the June of 1932. Since then, the game has strengthened its roots in the country, but India’s rise to the upper echelons of cricket’s longest and oldest format is not very old. Momentous victories were achieved at the beginning of 1970’s in England and West Indies, but these were not backed up in the decades that followed. While India has always been a formidable side in home conditions, its transformation into a competitive side, in faraway shores, started at the turn of the century and has gained massive momentum under the leadership of Virat Kohli since 2015.
As the team goes into the third and final Test match against South Africa, with the series evenly poised at 1-1, the Newlands Stadium in Cape Town is in many ways Team India’s ‘Final Frontier’ as far as it’s performance away from home is concerned in Test cricket.
India has till date secured series victories in New Zealand (1967-68 & 2008-09), West Indies (1970-71, 2006, 2011, 2016 & 2019), England (1971, 1986 & 2007), Sri Lanka (1993, 2015 & 2017), Bangladesh (2000-01, 2004-05, 2007 & 2009-10), Pakistan (2003-04), Zimbabwe (2005), Australia (2018-19 & 2020-21).
South Africa thus remains the only Test playing nation that India has toured and not won a series at, yet.
When we take the team’s performances in Tests played at Cape Town over the years into context, it further shows why Virat Kohli would want to lead his team to victory here. India has played 5 matches at the Newlands Stadium, lost three and drawn two.
Add to that the fact that Cape Town has been South Africa’s most successful Test venue ever. The team has won 26 matches there, although their win ratio at Centurion is far superior.
Much like the win at Brisbane in January 2021, the Cape Town Test provides Kohli and his team to do something that has never been achieved and forever write its name in the annals of Indian cricket history.
Kohli has pioneered the cause of Test cricket since the nascent stages of his international career and been its biggest brand ambassador in the past few years. He is the most successful Indian captain in Test cricket by miles and this is one victory that he deserves as leader in the longest format.
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