When India won the 2018-19 Border-Gavaskar Trophy – their first Test series win in Australia – it marked a significant milestone for Virat Kohli and his team.
The rare series win Down Under came at a time Australia when were without two of their best batsmen, as Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for their role in the ball-tampering scandal. The fall-out from the Cape Town incident had seen a review of Australian cricket and the rest of the team were determined to be on their best behaviour.
However, it was revealed in the new Amazon Prime cricket documentary ‘The Test’ that the team’s resolve to not engage in on-field clashes was tested severely by India skipper Kohli.
Kohli was at his impetuous best on the field and his behaviour angered the Australian team no end. This was amplified in the second Test at Perth after India won the first Test by 31 runs.
The Indian captain’s attitude in Perth triggered new coach Justin Langer and he privately addressed the team calling out the double standards. In many ways, a boisterous Kohli behaved a bit like how Australia did in their heyday and it seemed to get to the Aussies on their home soil.
“I remember that afternoon [feeling] like a punching bag. We can’t fight back because it felt like we had our hands behind our backs and we just had to take it,” Langer said in the documentary. “It just felt a bit double standards to me. Imagine if we behaved two out of ten (of) that.”
“Boys, to be honest, I’m pretty emotional tonight, eh? Because I just think, one; you’re all probably feeling the double standards, the way their captain is carrying on, we sort of have to be really careful,” Langer had said.
This then prompted captain Tim Paine to take the verbal battle to his Indian counterpart and the Aussie wicketkeeper’s quips through the series became headlines.
“The plan was not to talk to him when he was batting, when we were batting it’s kind of up to the individual what they want to do,” Paine said.
“I sort of just had enough and thought you also have to stand up for yourself and your teammates and that was one of the reasons I thought, ‘no, I’m the captain, it’s my turn, I have to stand up and show him we’re here for the fight’.”
Perhaps riled up by this, Australia went on to level the series by winning the Perth Test by a huge 146 runs. But it is Kohli and Co who won the series in the end.
‘The Test’ is a docuseries that follows the Australian men’s cricket team as they rebuilt after the 2018 ball-tampering scandal which saw their top players being banned and a change in leadership.