HomeAnalysisEngland vs India, 1st Test: Vintage Virat Kohli Stands...

England vs India, 1st Test: Vintage Virat Kohli Stands Tall As A Rock

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India tour of England 2018

Virat Kohli’s astounding 149 against England at Edgbaston on Day 2 of the first Test was a knock that defied all the odds in a challenging situation.
Looking at the majestic ton by the Indian skipper, one definitely puts this achievement right up there amongst his best in Test cricket. If 155 against South Africa at Centurion in January 2018 was a dream effort, this innings of 149 was in similar lines.
This was vintage Kohli that we have all witnessed since 2016. In the last two years, the 29-year-old slammed 5 double centuries at home and his performances outside the subcontinent grew a new wing as well.
This century will always be remembered given India’s precarious situation at one stage (100/5) where James Anderson and Ben Stokes probably bowled the best spell in recent years.
India could well have been bowled out for 110-115 if England had held on to two regulation dollies in the slip cordon. One of which was Kohli’s off Anderson. But luck prevailed with the gutsy middle-order batsman as he carried his side single-handedly to get to 274. Who would have thought that?
Time and time again, Kohli has been producing these gems. We saw his substance in Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and now here in England. It was a first for the skipper in his 6th Test match on English soil. And what a way to bring up his 22nd Test ton.
The crowd in Birmingham welcomed Kohli at the crease with boos and chants. But they couldn’t help but stand on their feet and salute the modern day great later on. They had witnessed a special inning!

Kohli cracks the English code

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Virat Kohli
Virat Kohli has got the monkey off by scoring in the first match after a horrendous 2014 tour (Image: Times Now)

Four years ago, Kohli’s last trip to England was a disaster. He finished the 2014 tour with an average of 13.40 after amassing a paltry 134 in 10 innings. Anderson was all over him and got his wicket four times in 10 innings. Come 2018, Kohli’s first innings in England reads 149. It’s a dream stuff.
The feeling this time around is different. There is that sense of hunger and the desire to get his technique right against all odds and keep batting. With wickets falling at the other end, Kohli needed that bit of support from somewhere, and once he got that from the tail, he was unstoppable.
The huge celebration after getting to his maiden ton in England showed how determined he is to succeed in these conditions. The run-machine has now got the ability to get these daddy hundreds. There is no cheap thrills here, Kohli means business. Unlike Root, the Indian skipper showed his prowess in converting starts and fifties into big scores.

Battle against Anderson a delight

James Anderson was the toughest challenge, but Kohli tackled him really well (Image: Indian Express)

It was expected that Joe Root will give many overs to James Anderson, who is England’s best bet. The veteran bowler was unplayable at times and he bowled his heart out. The duel against Kohli was the highlight of the day.
It was not an easy start for the Indian stalwart. He struggled to read which way Anderson was swinging the ball and the senior pacer found the edge of his bat four times. A couple of them fell short of the slip fielders, as Kohli too played as softly as possible. But the moment came when David Malan missed a sitter to leave Anderson to look in disbelief.
The 2nd session belonged to England and at that time Stokes was on a different level. Anderson backed him up well and England needed that kill, but the slip fielding let them down. Anderson had bowled 26 successive balls at Kohli without conceding a run. The Indian skipper left alone more than half of those.
It was during that phase when India lost Ajinkya Rahane at 100/5 and the score remained the same for the next 21 deliveries. Dinesh Karthik was castled. A review helped Pandya survive an LBW decision. Two simple catches were dropped. The ball missed the edge numerous times.

Kohli guides India to safety

Kohli giuided India to safety as they trailed by just 13 runs (Image: Hindustan Times)

After Malan put down another tough one-handed chance at second slip, Kohli stayed calm and then settled in. He survived that demeaning spell from Stokes and Anderson, before first clipping Sam Curran through mid-wicket then angling him down to the third man. The free-flowing nature settled in.
The three partnerships Kohli got into turned out to be instrumental. First was the 48-run show with Hardik Pandya that was the biggest test. The duo saw out that tough phase where England never set a foot loose. Kohli then added 92 runs for the last two wickets with Ishant Sharma and Umesh Yadav.
While batting on 97, Stokes dropped the ball short and Kohli leaned back to caress the ball through point for four. A loud roar amidst the celebration was a delight. It showed how much that innings meant. His innings was laced with 22 fours and a six. His running between the wickets was on top gear and the ability to bat with the tail defined his legacy.
Post his ton, he dominated the bowlers. The inside-out cover drives, perfectly executed pulls, flicks and cuts in the off-side were all witnessed.

Some records along the way

  1. Kohli has now scored 15 Test centuries as skipper. Only South Africa’s Graeme Smith (22) and Australia’s Ricky Ponting (19) stay ahead of him.
  2. The right-hander has now scored a Test century in every Test-playing country except Bangladesh.
  3. He has made 22 Test centuries and 16 fifties; and is second to legendary Sir Donald Bradman, who has a better conversion rate, with 29 centuries and 13 fifties.
  4. Kohli went past 7,000 runs in international cricket as a captain – the quickest to achieve the feat (124 innings).
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