India defeated Australia by 137 runs in the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne to conclude the year on a high. This is for the second time that India have won more than one Test in a series Down Under. They earlier won two Tests in 1978. Apart from India's recent dominance on overseas tours, concluding year 2018 also witnessed many feats achieved by the team and the individuals. Captain Virat Kohli became the top-ranked batsman in the ICC Test rankings, replacing banned Australian batsman Steve Smith in 2018. The right-handed batsman also regained the number one ODI rank with 1,202 runs in 14 matches at an average of 133.55. On the women's front, Smriti Mandhana was on a high, being named the ICC Woman Cricketer of the Year and the ICC Woman ODI Player of 2018. Smriti Mandhana was also included in the ICC ODI and T20I squads, while Harmanpreet Kaur was named skipper of the T20I outfit. Poonam Yadav also named in both squads.
The Indian men's skipper Virat Kohli's rise to the top spot in Tests came after Smith was given a one-year ban by the Cricket Australia for his involvement in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in a Test in South Africa in March this year.
Virat Kohli made the best of the opportunity and amassed 200 runs in successive innings of the first Test against England in Edgbaston to claim the number one rank in August. With this, he became the first Indian batsman to gain the top spot in Tests since legendary Sachin Tendulkar in 2011.
This made a perfect equation for cricket fanatics as Kohli reached the pinnacle at the back of India maintaining the number one rank in the ICC Test team rankings.
Not just the longest format, King Kohli continued to rule the shorter formats as well. Having turned 30 in November, the Delhi-born batsman became the only Indian batsman to score three consecutive hundreds and tenth in world cricket.
Kohli's three consecutive centuries came in a five-match ODI series against the Windies that India won 3-1 in November. This marked to be his fourth successive ODI ton in India. South Africa's batting great AB de Villiers, who retired from international cricket in August, is the only other batsman to achieve this rare feat.
With 2,735 runs in 37 international matches, Kohli smashed 11 hundreds in 2018, six in ODIs and five in Tests.
In December, India defeated Australia by 31 runs in Adelaide to register their first Test triumph Down Under in 10 years and first ever in an opening match of a Test series in Australia. Thanks to that, Kohli became the first Asian captain to win Test matches in England, Australia and South Africa in a calendar year.
While Kohli led India from the front throughout the year, bowlers' contribution was no less impressive in their improved overseas show. The pace battery, comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, became more lethal than ever.
Spinners Kuldeep Yadav, Yuzvendra Chahal, Ravichandran Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja continued to deceive the best of the world batsmen with their twists and turns.
In 2018, Indian bowlers claimed 257 Test wickets, the highest ever for the national team in a calendar year. With 48 wickets in his debut Test year, in nine matches and all away from home, Jasprit Bumrah became the highest wicket-taking fast bowler in a debut Test season.
Besides Bumrah, Ishant and Shami also impressed with the cherry on India's overseas tour in the calendar year. Ishant picked up 40 wickets while Shami took 46 wickets to break a 34-year-old record with Bumrah.
Bumrah, Ishant and Shami collected 134 wickets in away Tests in 2018 and surpassed the tally of former Windies trio of Malcolm Marshall, Michael Holding and Joel Garner, who claimed 130 wickets collectively in away tours in 1984.