India eked out a narrow draw in the final Test at Sydney as the four-match series finished 2-0 in favour of the hosts. While local spectators celebrate the final scoreline, Indian fans can take some consolation from how Virat Kohli batted in the match and through the series. (Match report | Day 5 Highlights | Scorecard)
After his 147 in the first innings, the Indian captain played positively on the final day. The Aussies were nervous with him around as he looked eager to take India to a successful record chase. He, however fell for 46, a score that was just enough to help India to a draw. Accustomed to staying in the middle for long, Kohli's comparatively brief stay at the crease on the final day promised a lot. That he hit three fours in his 95-ball stay once again showed what the batsman is capable of. While he eventually offered a meek edge to leave his side in a precarious spot, nothing can be taken away from phenomenal achievement in the series. (I hate losing, cricket's all about getting respect, says Kohli after Sydney Test)
Kohli finished the series with 692 runs - just 77 behind his Aussie counterpart Steve Smith who was the highest scorer in the four Tests. The 26-year-old added four centuries and a fifty from the contests at an average of 63.31. What makes his achievements even bigger is that he was captain in two of these Tests and that he was subject to verbal onslaughts on a numerous occasion.
Rated as Australia's primary target, Kohli negotiated the opposition's spin and pace with maturity. On the final day in Sydney, the ball turned and swung but Kohli looked in control till that fraction of time when he nicked Mitchell Starc in an uncharacteristic lapse of concentration.
While Kohli in unlikely to celebrate his personal milestones in the face of a 2-0 defeat for the team, the young general has truly mastered batting in overseas conditions. And this can only benefit his fellow players in the all other series that will follow.