As much as it is hard to win a Test, whether home or away, it is even harder to remain unbeaten for any amount of time. In over a century of Test cricket, only 16 times has a team managed to remain unbeaten in 15 or more consecutive Tests. Only four have gone unbeaten for more than 20 Tests and the world record for most consecutive Tests without defeat has remained unbroken in more than three decades.
India's win in the one-off Test against Bangladesh was not only Virat Kohli's sixth series since being appointed full-time time or India's 19th consecutive Test match without defeat but also elevated them into an elite list that comprises of some of the best sides to have ever played the game.
Apart from India, England, Australia and West Indies appear in the top five of this list, including one side that appears twice. Here is the list of teams who have the longest unbeaten run in Test history:
#5 India - 19 Tests
Courtesy of their win over Bangladesh in the one-off Test, India entered into this list and overtook England and Australia (18 Tests) into fifth place. Virat Kohli's reign as full-time captain has so far resulted in six successive series win and an unbeaten run of 19 Tests. That streak ended in the first Test at Pune, where they lost to Australia by 333 runs.
After losing the first Test against Sri Lanka in 2015, nobody could have foreseen what was going to happen thereafter. Not only did they win the remaining two Tests but also their first Test series in Sri Lanka since 1993. Soon after, they beat South Africa 3-0 at home, who at the time, hadn't lost an away Test series in a decade.
While the amount of turn in the pitches prepared for the series was questioned by some, they have since answered all the critics by winning 2-0 in West Indies, whitewashing New Zealand at home and beating England 4-0 and Bangladesh 1-0 on pitches that have largely been good for batting.
Virat Kohli holds the Indian record for most consecutive series wins and would have been looking to move up but the streak was ended after a convincing performance by Australia at Pune, where they bowled out India for 105 and 107 courtesy of Steve O’Keefe’s 6/35 in both innings.
#4 Australia - 22 Tests
The first of two Australian sides to make this list is the one captained by Ricky Ponting who went on a 22-game unbeaten run that was spread across two and half years and began right at the end of the most famous Ashes series in memory (2005).
After drawing the final Ashes Test at The Oval, they would go on to dominate the Test arena unlike any other team before them in the history of the format. Of the 22 Tests, they drew just two and won 20 and went on a world record 16-game winning run in Tests that hasn't come close to being broken since then.
The most impressive aspect of their 22-game run wasn't just the wins that they kept on accumulating but also the manner in which they were winning games. Only thrice during their 20 wins did they win it by less than 100 runs or with fewer than five wickets hand, which highlights just how dominant they were.
They whitewashed West Indies, England, and Sri Lanka at home, whitewashed Bangladesh away from home and were leading India 2-0 and on a 16-game winning run before Anil Kumble's side stunned them at Perth and won by 72 runs thereby ending both their world record winning run and their 22-game unbeaten streak.
#3 Australia - 25 Tests
Australia are on the only team to have gone more than 20 consecutive games unbeaten twice. And it comes as no surprise that with a 25-game unbeaten run that spread over nearly five years, it is Don Bradman's Invincibles team that takes the third spot.
Even before Australia became the first Test side to play an entire tour of England without losing a match and earned the moniker of "The Invincibles" and went down as one of the greatest sides to play the game, they had already been unbeaten in 11 consecutive Tests against New Zealand, England and India.
Then came the 1948 tour of England, where they played 31 first-class matches, winning 23 and drawing eight of them, including the Test series against England 4-0. And it didn't stop there despite that being Don Bradman's farewell tour of England.
They went on to beat South Africa away from home and won four consecutive matches against England and the series before losing the final match at Melbourne, which ended their 25-game unbeaten streak that comprised of 20 wins (9 away from home) and six consecutive Test series wins and a streak of five consecutive Test wins on three different occasions.
#2 England - 26 Tests
Despite being the pioneers of cricket, England haven't always been given their due when it comes to cricket. Perhaps they have never quite caught the eye and that is a surprise, especially considering the fact they are only one of two teams to have more than 25 consecutive Tests without defeat.
With an unbeaten run that stretched to 26 Tests from June 1968 to August 1971. Perhaps the reason why aren't held in high regard as compared to the legendary West Indies or Australian teams has to do with their approach to the game, as evident in this unbeaten run.
Although they were unbeaten in 26 Tests, of those matches they won only nine and just three of them came away from home. They won just five of the eight series during this run and although their wins were largely convincing, they never won more than two games in a row whereas they drew three games in a row thrice during their 26-game unbeaten run.
With an emphasis on not losing first and only then going for the win, this England side which had the likes of Geoffrey Boycott, Colin Cowdrey Derek Underwood, they didn't lose games but lost quite a few hearts.
Still, being unbeaten for three years is an achievement that shouldn't be taken lightly. And their run came to an end at the hands of India, who beat them by four wickets at The Oval and won the three-match series 1-0.
#1 West Indies - 27 Tests
During the 1980s, West Indies were a force to be reckoned with the likes of Malcolm Marshall, Courtney Walsh, Michael Holding and Joel Garner in their ranks. And it should come as no surprise that the side captained by Clive Lloyd holds the record for the longest consecutive unbeaten run in Test history.
West Indies were unbeaten in 27 Tests across three years, during which time they beat India 2-0 at home and 3-0 away from home, beat Australia home and away and whitewashed England 5-0 in England, which was a sign of their complete dominance irrespective of the conditions on offer.
In total, their unbeaten run of 27 Test included 17 wins and 10 draws, of which 12 were away from home and also included an incredible run of seven consecutive away wins.
The streak came to an end in the final Test of the 1984 Australia series in spectacular fashion at Sydney. Although West Indies had already won the series 3-0, Australia grabbed a consolation win in the final Test and ended the longest consecutive unbeaten streak in Test history.
After 27 Tests spread over three years, West Indies lost. After Australia won the toss and put on 471 on the board, they bundled out West Indies for 163 in the first innings and 253 in the second as they won by an innings and 55 runs.