Vizag Test: Is Virat Kohli heading for another double century?

Updated: Nov 21, 2016, 13:09 IST | Aakash Chopra |

Kohli feels it’s criminal to let go of a chance to bat first on a good pitch. When the opportunity presented itself in the Antigua and Indore Tests recently, he scored a double century, so...

Virat Kohli plays a shot on Day One of the second Test against England in Vizag yesterday. PIC/PTI

Visakhapatanam: Just like Rajkot, this pitch at Vizag is a typical win-the-toss-bat-first-pitch. But unfortunately for England, that’s where the similarities between the two surfaces end. The pitch for the first Test had bigger blocks, firmer surface and more grass but the one for the second Test, quite expectedly, has smaller blocks and no grass.
This pitch is likely to deteriorate at a much faster pace than the one in Rajkot.

Winning the toss in the first Test put you in a position of strength but on this pitch, winning the toss is akin to almost winning the contest, if you bat well in the first innings. That is now that India have batted well on the first day, only a collapse of gigantic proportions on the second day will give England a sniff of a chance. India, on the other hand, would look to bat England out of this game and they are about 183 runs away from achieving that.

India didn’t get off to the start they’d wished for as Anderson and Broad reduced the hosts to 22-2. That’s when the Indian team must have realised that winning the toss is only half the job done, for the outcome depended on making the first innings count.

Damage control
In Pujara and captain Kohli, India have got two finest Indian players of this generation to steady the ship. Right from the beginning of their partnership, the intent to keep the scoreboard moving stood out, especially against spinners.
While the seamers managed to stem the run-flow with an outside-off line backed by a heavily guarded off-side field, the spinners simply couldn’t stitch enough dots together. England bowled only 10 maidens in the day and spinners’ contribution to this was only two overs. The English spinners may have bowled a little better than India in Rajkot, but the lack of quality got exposed in Vizag, for the pitch here had a lot more to offer if only the spinners were consistent.

In Rajkot, Pujara was hit on the helmet a few times and it was only fair to expect the same ploy in Vizag but the little adjustments he’s made to his technique kept him in good stead. If Pujara is ice, Kohli is fire.

Aggression channelised
It’s heartening to see how Kohli is channelising the aggression he’s born with into hunger for runs. The journey from good to great is covered by players who are acutely aware of a good opportunity and make it count. From the moment Kohli walked into bat, he knew that this was an opportunity to score big. He did the same in Antigua and Indore against West Indies and New Zealand respectively.

Kohli’s demeanour suggests that he feels it’s a crime to let go of an opportunity to bat first on a good pitch and on both occasions he scored a double century. The muted celebrations after reaching the century was a giveaway. He’s eying another big one today.

Apart from the unflappable temperament, Kohli’s magical wrists stood out. Bowling to Kohli was like bowling to a revolving door, for it was almost impossible to set a field that could’ve stopped him from rotating the strike.

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