India's win in Melbourne against Australia was their 150th in Test cricket. The Virat Kohli-led side has taken a 2-1 lead in the four-match series. This puts Team India in a great position to win their first ever series in Australia.
It is a team effort no doubt but it would be unfair not to give the bowlers that extra bit of appreciation for their stand-out performance. Jasprit Bumrah was the pick with a match haul of 9 wickets, while Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami played their part to the fullest. Indian captain Virat Kohli couldn't agree more.
"Credit to our bowlers, especially Jasprit. The three fast bowlers have broken the record for most wickets by pacers in a calendar year for a team, which is brilliant. I certainly feel proud as a captain when they bowl in partnerships. No one is looking to out-bowl each other."
Bumrah, who followed his first innings' 6-wicket haul with figures of 3/32 in Australia's second innings, has been a revelation in Tests ever since his debut earlier this year in South Africa. He finishes 2018 with 48 wickets in 9 Tests, that includes three five-wicket hauls. In fact, India's fast bowling trio of Bumrah, Shami and Ishant are all inside the top-10 list of highest wicket-takers in 2018. Such has been their dominance. Bumrah's success at the Test level should not come as a surprise as the Melbourne Test's MoM (man of the match) confesses that the reason he plays is because of his love for the longest format of the game.
"To play Test cricket is a great feeling: be it Boxing Day or any other day. I made my India debut in Australia, so great feeling. I always focus on consistency. When you have so many options, you may get confused. Someday you get wickets, someday another mate will, but we don't think about those. Bowled a lot, but I don't mind, because this is why we train. We bowl a lot in Ranji-Trophy cricket, and it pays off. When I made my ODI debut, I always just wanted to play Test cricket."
Three Tests gone, one to go. The last Test is in Sydney - a venue known more for big scores from the batsmen and success for the spinners than for fast bowling heroics. But with Indian pace bowlers in such fine form, one can expect 2019 to start in the same way as 2018 ended.