Border-Gavaskar Trophy: From 2011 to 2020, a tale of two Virat Kohlis against Australia

Border-Gavaskar Trophy

NEW DELHI: Over the years, star Indian batter Virat Kohli has made a name for himself by tearing apart top-class bowling attacks worldwide. Be it the peak Lasith Malinga from Sri Lanka, a fast and furious Dale Steyn from South Africa, England’s ageless wonder James Anderson or the Australian trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc, a lot of bowlers were beaten into submission by Kohli’s willow.

Kohli has in particular, feasted on Australians throughout his career. Red-ball cricket, Australian bowlers and Virat is a trio that fans want to see unite on a more regular basis. In 20 Tests and 36 innings, Virat has scored 1,682 runs against the mighty Aussies at an average of 48.05. He has scored seven tons and five fifties against the Aussies with the best score of 169.

Some of Kohli’s career-best moments have taken place against Australia in their own backyard. When greats like Sachin Tendulkar, VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid looked helpless in front of bowlers like James Pattison, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon Starc and Ben Hilfenhaus and could not really showcase the game that earned them ovations in Australia, a young 23-year-old boy from Delhi stepped in and became the only Indian batter to cross 300 runs in that 2011-12 tour Down Under, which saw India lose Test series by 4-0.

This also included a daring 116 against the same bowling attack at Adelaide in the third Test, an arena which has been his stomping ground. At the iconic venue, Kohli has scored 509 runs in eight innings at an average of 63.62, with three centuries and one fifty to his name and the best score of 141. He also scored a half-century in the series as well.

Kohli’s domination over the Aussies in their backyard continued in the 2014-15 series as well. The series saw him earn two valiant draws for India. He also announced himself as the captain to be reckoned with following MS Dhoni’s retirement from the longer format after the third Test. Kohli ended the series with 692 runs in four matches, eight innings at an average of 86.50 and four tons and one fifty, with the best score of 169. At the peak of their powers, heavyweights like Hazlewood, Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc were forced into being spectators as the cherry took a tour of every nook and corner of the stadiums the matches were played in.

In the 2018-19 BGT in Australia, Virat did not fire much. But he saved his best for a tricky surface at Perth, where the entire Team India bowed down to the spinner Lyon, the ‘GOAT’ as he is known to fans. He scored 123 in 257 balls. Though he could not prevent India’s defeat by 146 runs, his century will go down as one of his best. The final statistics of the series stood at 282 runs for Virat in seven innings, with one ton and fifty and an average of 40.28.

This all led to the making of a Down Under resume Virat can be proud of. In 13 matches, he has scored 1,352 runs at an average of 54.08. In 25 innings, he has scored six tons and four fifties with a best score of 169.

But at home conditions, where batters tend to be more dominant and make use of the home advantage with more freedom, Australia has been able to tame Kohli’s beastly assaults with the bat.

Though some may argue that Kohli has played only two BGT series at home and sample size could be short, the difference between his numbers in Australia and India is astounding.

In his first BGT at home in 2012-13, Kohli played a supporting role, with opener Murali Vijay (430 runs) and middle-order batter Cheteshwar Pujara (419 runs) occupying the top two positions in the batting charts. Kohli could score only 284 runs in four matches, six innings at an average of 56.80. A knock of 107 and an unbeaten 67 mask his otherwise ordinary run with the bat in that series.

In Australia’s next trip to India in 2016-17, Kohli’s willow failed to make any noise. He could score only 46 runs in five innings at an average of 9.20 and the best score of just 15.

Overall, Kohli’s BGT stats in India stand at 330 runs in seven matches, eleven innings at an average of 33.00. He has scored only one century and fifty against Aussies at home in the longer format.

As Aussies make another visit to Indian shores, they will definitely have an edge over Kohli given his ordinary run against them in subcontinent conditions.

The star batters’ Test form in the decade of 2020s would also be encouraging for Aussies and they will hit Kohli where it pains the hardest. Since 2020, Kohli has made only 917 Test runs in 23 matches and 36 innings and he has crossed fifty only six times. Spin has become his weakness as of late and the visitors will be aiming to make full use of Lyon, Ashton Agar, Travis Head etc against him. He has averaged below 30 from 2020-22 in longer format.

But with the white-ball resurgence Virat has been having since Asia Cup 2022 after months of inconsistency, he is not the one to be ruled out so easily. (ANI)