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How much does losing tosses impact visiting teams?

Virat Kohli brought up the toss unprovoked at the post-match presentation, but does he have a point?

Sidharth Monga
Sidharth Monga
Virat Kohli congratulates Kane Williamson, New Zealand v India, 1st Test, Wellington, 4th day, February 24, 2020

Virat Kohli congratulates Kane Williamson  •  Getty Images

It was quite uncharacteristic of India captain Virat Kohli to bring up the toss unprovoked at the post-match presentation after their 10-wicket loss to New Zealand.
Some might be tempted to look at it as an excuse - as was done with Faf du Plessis when South Africa lost in India - but if you scratch the surface, Kohli - and du Plessis - was only stating facts.
India, New Zealand and Australia are so strong at home that it has become nearly impossible for visiting teams to beat them if they lose the toss. The last time any visiting side won a Test after losing the toss in any of these countries was back in 2012, when a Kevin Pietersen masterclass made the difference against a transitional Indian team.
It has been more than a decade since New Zealand lost a home Test after winning the toss. Even Australia, for instance, who had a severely depleted side in 2018-19, managed to win the Perth Test against India when they won the toss.
The converse of this, unfortunately for visiting sides, does not hold true. When you are visiting these countries, winning the toss is no guarantee that you will go on to win the Test. The likes of India, New Zealand and Australia still manage to win home Tests despite losing the toss.
A few of New Zealand's wins despite losing the toss have come against Sri Lanka and West Indies. If they do lose the toss to India in Christchurch, they will want to replicate what they did against England at Bay Oval earlier in the season to make sure their strong record remains intact.
A word of caution, though: Virat Kohli, the captain, has never lost a Test after winning the toss. He has won 21 of the Tests he has won tosses in, and the record overseas remains just as impressive: eight wins after winning 10 tosses.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo