#NewsBytesExplainer: How India consolidated number one Test spot (2016-20)
Australia recently dethroned India in the ICC Test Team Rankings. Team India lost the number one spot for the first time since October 2016. While skipper Kohli took over the baton from Mahendra Singh Dhoni in 2014, India were rewarded with the ICC Test mace in 2016-17. We take a look at how India stamped their authority in Test cricket from 2016 to 2020.
India's journey began with the Sri Lanka tour
The year 2015 emanated the golden era of Indian cricket, especially in the longest format of cricket. Following the gruelling Australian tour (2014-15), India staged a massive turnaround in the Sri Lanka Test series. Even after losing the series opener, India clinched the series 2-1. They followed it up by beating South Africa 3-0 in a rather low scoring Test series at home.
India were invincible at home
In 2016, Virat Kohli broke the shackles both as a batsman and skipper. He scored a maiden Test double ton in the West Indies series, which India won 2-0. Kohli slammed two more double centuries with India extending dominance at home throughout the year. They won consecutive home series against England (4-0) and Australia (2-1). In 2017, they beat Sri Lanka twice (3-0, 1-0).
India recorded nine series victories from 2015 to 2018
From 2015 to 2018, India registered as many as nine consecutive series victories against Sri Lanka (three), South Africa, West Indies, New Zealand, England, Bangladesh and Australia. In 30 Tests, India won 20 and lost two, drawing eight.
The series victory in Australia was the highlight
In Virat Kohli's first-ever SENA cycle as captain, India suffered a 1-2 series defeat to South Africa (2018). The England Test tour was also forgettable with India losing 1-4. However, India became the first Asian side to win a Test series in Australia, after they beat the hosts 2-1. The cycle was concluded with New Zealand routing India 2-0.
India's Test graph under Kohli
Under Virat Kohli, India have won 20 out of 26 Tests at home, having lost a solitary match. During the period, they have never lost a single Test series at home. Overall, Kohli has led Team India to 33 victories in 55 Tests.
India would look to reclaim the top spot
Notably, India are now the third-ranked team in the ICC Test Rankings with 114 points. New Zealand hold the second spot with 115 rating points. Australia now lead the rankings, having fetched 116 points. Team India would be eyeing the top spot yet again when they face Australia in the four-match Test series, following the completion of ICC T20 World Cup.