IND vs ENG: Virat Kohli gives India kiss of life
Captain Virat Kohli slams maiden ton in England to guide India's remarkable comeback on Day 2 of first Test; hosts 9-1 at stumps
The new Duke ball barely swung in the third over of the Indian innings and the openers looked comfortable. Joe Root, stationed at second slip, moved to mid-off and David Malan shifted to that position. Malan spilled two catches at second slip. Both off Virat Kohli's blade — on 21 and 51. It proved extremely costly as the Indian captain stroked an emphatic 149 to propel India to just 13 runs shy of England's first innings score of 287 on Day Two of the opening Test of the Pataudi Trophy. England lost their former skipper Alastair Cook for a duck — thanks to Ravichandran Ashwin — for the second time in the match. At stumps, England were nine for one, an overall lead of 22 runs.
Importantly, it was a day when Kohli finally broke his England hoodoo. No longer will there be any doubts about his credentials on English soil, nor will there be any reservations about his willingness to handle his nemesis, James Anderson on overcast English days. Yesterday, he battled but still managed to spur himself to glory through a mind that continues to get stronger with each day of cricket.
Walking in at 54 for two, Kohli continued to lose partners as India slumped from 50 for none to 100-5 in the space of 16.2 overs. It was during this period that Kohli constrained himself, only attempting an attacking shot in six of his first 50 balls. Along with Hardik Pandya and Ravichandran Ashwin, he pushed India past the 150-mark and in the process, brought up his first fifty in England.
After tea, there was another mini collapse as India fell to 182-8, still trailing England by 105. From that moment, Kohli changed gears. It was as if the dimensions of the cricket ball had suddenly increased and everything seemed to find the middle of his bat. It was batting of the highest calibre as Kohli drove, guided, flicked and pulled imperiously to race to his hundred. He progressed from 50 to 100 in just 72 balls, that too, by shielding the tailenders. It was a knock that started with uncertainty, but ended in great authority. Importantly, it brought India back in the game.
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