Virat Kohli
Test skipper Virat Kohli has powered India to the No. 2 position in the ICC rankings.Reuters

The series win over South Africa catapulted India to No.2 in the ICC Test rankings. And India did not attain this position in just one series. Virat Kohli's men have played some good all-round cricket in the longest format of the game, proving they are a force to reckon, especially in sub-continental conditions.

When India were touring Down Under towards the latter half of 2014 and early 2015, they did not make much of an impact on Australian soil. However, Kohli had an outstanding Test series, notching four Test centuries. 

In the middle of the year, right after the IPL 2015 season, India toured Bangladesh where they played only one Test match. Unfortunately, rain curtailed the Test match and the visitors could not find a positive result. 

After the Bangladesh tour, India toured the island of Sri Lanka. They had not managed to win a Test series in Sri Lanka in the last 22 years. But under the able leadership of Virat Kohli, India turned on style and went on to win a Test series in Sri Lanka against the hosts.

South Africa then came to India for a 72-day long tour where they also played four Test matches. Indians were dominant and they went on to win the series 3-0. Some would say that they would have won 4-0, if rain had not played spoilsport in the second Test in Bengaluru.  

Here are India's Top 5 Test players in 2015, players who helped India achieve that No.2 ranking:

1. Ravichandran Ashwin - He is currently one of the best spinners in the world. He is the second highest wicket-taker (81) in the world in this calender year across all formats of the international game, just behind Mitchell Starc's tally of 88 wickets. Be it against Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or South Africa, Ashwin was relentless. He continued to bamboozle his oppositions with his off-spinners. He surely deserves the no. 1 position in this list.

Here's a look at his 22 scalps against Sri Lanka: 

2. Ajinkya Rahane - Home or overseas, when the batting lineup crumbled, there was one man who stood tall - he goes by the name of Ajinkya Rahane. The innings of 98 runs against Bangladesh in Fatullah could have made a difference if rain had not stopped India's route to victory. The century in the second innings against Sri Lanka at the SSC Stadium in Colombo during the third Test match turned the wheels of fortune India's way. And finally, the twin centuries in the final Test match against South Africa in New Delhi has ensured the fans that he is en route to becoming one of the best batsmen for the country -- be it at home or overseas.

Also, Rahane has been brilliant in the field as well. He has taken the most number of catches in the slips in this calender year. A player of his quality will hardly spill one out. Rahane also broke the world record of taking the most number of catches in a Test match (8 catches) which had remained unbroken for a long time. He went past the previous best which was of seven catches, achieved by five players - Matthew Hayden, Yajurvindra Singh, Hashan Tillakaratne, Greg Chappell and Stephen Fleming. 

A hundred that change the course of the series:

3. Murali Vijay - He has been the most consistent opening batsman in Tests for India in 2015. It all started in Australia when he got back his panache with the willow at the top of the order. Be it the defiant innings of 80 runs against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground or the innings of 82 runs against Sri Lanka in the second Test match at the Premadasa Stadium in Colombo or even the 150 against Bangladesh. He is now the go-to man at the top of the order for India.

4. Ishant Sharma - It is very hard to forget the fiery spell that the lanky pacer bowled against Sri Lanka. Ishant picked up eight wickets in that Test match and helped India to secure a historic Test series victory after 22 years. He bowled impeccable line and length in that series, showing he is now the fast bowling spearhead of the team.

Let us take a look at that outstanding spell:

Last but not the least,

5. Virat Kohli - Captain fantastic took Team India to new heights in Test cricket in 2015. He might not have scored a lot of runs in the calendar year, but his ability to lead this young Indian brigade has won a lot hearts and silenced a lot of critics. Kohli handed India two historic series wins - one against Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka and the other against South Africa on home soil.

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