India romped home to a comfortable 113-run victory in the first Test at Centurion, which capped off an excellent year which started off with a historic win at the Gabba.
Between these two wins, India also squeezed in a couple of wins in England - at Lord's and The Oval. KL Rahul who starred with a superb century at Centurion also played his part in England where he scored a ton at Lord's.
Rahul, who won the player of the match award for his 123 at Centurion, says 2021 will go down as one of the greatest in India's history. "It's a super, super special year for team India. The kind of achievements that we have gotten this year has been truly special. I think it will go down as one of the greatest years in Indian cricket history," Rahul said at the post match press conference.
"It has taken a lot of hardwork and discipline. We have worked really hard as a team for few years," added Rahul.
The great dressing room atmosphere has also contributed to a great performance and not to forget the preparation part, said Rahul. "Yes, the dressing room atmosphere is amazing at the moment. It is a great Test victory. No Asian team has come here and won in Centurion and (it speaks of) kind of work we have put in, in last two weeks leading up to this Test match.
"We worked really hard as a team and we really had a lot of fun at training and at practice," the senior opener said.
Rahul termed it as a complete team performance having set the tone in the first game of the series. "To go out there in the first game of the series and put up a performance like that which is a complete team performance, it makes us happy.
"We can enjoy this victory for a day and get back to training and start focussing on the next Test match," said Rahul.
Leaving balls outside off key
"It is something that I am enjoying doing a lot at the moment. That's the key to Test cricket as you need to enjoy leaving balls outside the off-stump," said the 'Player of the Match', who set up India's first win at the Centurion with a day one hundred.
"I know we play a lot of one day and T20 cricket, smashing the ball all over the park is exciting and thrilling at same time, but when you come to Test cricket, learn to be disciplined, learn to play the waiting game."
He also understands that repetition could be boring but that's a sure-shot recipe for success. "Mistakes happen when you get bored of doing the same thing. I enjoyed playing defensive shots, tiring the bowlers this year since I started playing Test matches again in England," said Rahul, reiterating that even defending could be beautiful.
So where does this century rank among his six overseas hundreds? "Right up there in terms of conditions and wicket how challenging it was, I think this innings would be right up there for me. It took a lot of guts and determination and discipline to get a century and get my team to a winning position. So yeah, it's right up there," he was frank in his assessment.
Love standing at slip when Bumrah, Siraj and Shami bowl
"I would love to be there till Jasprit Bumrah is playing cricket. That's the best position to be in. (laughs), slips are a great position to be in and Shami, Bumrah and (Mohammed) Siraj are bowling, so I'd love to stay there," he said.
While he is happy standing in the slip cordon, what he utterly dislikes is facing these blokes in the nets, as they make him uncomfortable with their pace and skills. "To play our bowlers in the nets is more difficult, because especially for me or for many batters, we don't enjoy that much playing in the nets and add to it -- these people frighten us (laughs)...
"... and they don't treat us as teammates when they see us in the nets. They are very, very competitive people. So yes, we are very lucky to have such quality in our bowling line-up," he said.
Lucky to have Dravid in the dressing room
"You talk about the art of batting, which you know, we are all very lucky to have a guy like him in the dressing room and he (Dravid) has brought a lot of calm and balance into the dressing room," Rahul said.
But he is a taskmaster too and gets their all at training sessions.
"The preparations, he focuses on that. He (Dravid) made us really work hard at the training, at the nets, we enjoyed that period. It is a great opportunity for us to learn and get better as cricketers and as people, so that is a great thing for us."
The second Test starts in Johannesburg on January 3.
(With inputs from PTI)