India v England, 2nd Test: Virat Kohli’s 50th Test - Five defining performances


NEW DELHI, Nov.16: The second India v England Test match starting Thursday in Visakhapatnam will be a little bit special for one player - Virat Kohli, in his 50th game. India's Test captain has built up a fine reputation in his 49 Tests so far, with a total of 3643 runs at 46.11 with 13 hundreds.

On the occasion of Kohli's 50th Test, here are five of his best performances.

103 & 51* v New Zealand, Bangalore, 2012

119 & 96 v South Africa, Johannesburg, 2013

Virat Kohli 115 & 141 vs Australia, Adelaide, 2014

200 v West Indies, North Sound, 2016

211 v New Zealand, Indore, 2016

Kohli's second Test century was part of a match-winning contribution to India's five-wicket win in Bangalore that swept New Zealand 2-0. In reply to New Zealand's 365, the hosts were in trouble at 80/4 but Kohi's 103 and fifties to Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni got them to 353. When India batted again their target was 261 and Kohli scored the only half-century (51*) of the chase. He was voted Man of the Match.

Kohli came into the Tests against South Africa after a lean run in the preceding ODIs, but with his reputation intact as India's leading batsman. In India's first Test in the post-Tendulkar era, the 25-year-old was elevated to the vacant No. 4 spot and in his first innings produced a mature, stroke-filled century that was the only 50-plus score of the first innings. Where other either struggled to get starts or convert them, Kohli brimmed with confidence as he stood up to South Africa's pace quarter with 119 off 181 balls, laced with 18 fours.

In the second innings he fell four runs short of becoming the fourth Indian to score two hundreds in a Test; barring Cheteshwar Pujara's 153 the next highest score for India was Murali Vijay's 39. The match ended in one of the most epic draws ever, with Kohli's stamp too heavy to ignore - he was named Man of the Match as India maintained an unbeaten record in Johannesburg.

On India's previous trip to Australia in 2011, Kohli's 116 in Adelaide was the lone bright spot in a 4-0 drubbing. In the first Test of the series in Adelaide in 2014-15, Kohli stood tall and almost gave India a famous win. In the first innings, he was hit on the helmet by Mitchell Johnson but he recovered from that blow to start positively.

He played both spin and pace with confidence to bring up his seventh Test century. In the second innings, chasing 364 on the final day, Kohli once again stepped up to the plate and his 185-run partnership with Vijay got India close. On a wearing pitch, he tackled Nathan Lyon well by playing him off the back foot and using the sweep well. In the process, Kohli became the first batsman to score twin tons on debut as captain overseas but with his dismissal on 141, India lost the initiative and gave Australia victory by 48 runs. Once again, amidst the gloom, Kohli had given India a bright spark.

In his first Test match in charge in the West Indies, Kohli achieved the distinction of reaching 200 for the first time in Tests. It was an effort that set the base for India's total of 566/8 which helped ensure an innings victory. After two early wickets, Kohli put on 105 for the third wicket with Shikhar Dhawan (84) and then 168 for the fifth with R Ashwin (113). Watching India's Test captain drive and pull his way to a maiden double-century at the stadium at North Sound named after him, Sir Vivian Richards described the innings as classy and proof that Kohli was on the rise towards greatness.

Fans at Indore's Holkar Stadium, in the city's first ever Test match, were treated to a masterclass from Kohli and Rahane who put on 365 in 112 overs, a stand that formed the bedrock of India's first innings total of 557/5 declared. This was Kohli at his best: unhurried  in control and dripping finesse. In scoring 211, he became the first Indian Test captain to make two double-hundreds. Rahane, who overcame plenty of struggles against the short ball, went on to a Test-best 188.(TOI)



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