‘Virat Kohli Century Loading …’ Will the Wait be Finally Over at Ahmedabad?

In the 62nd over of the Indian innings, commentator Harsha Bhogle was furious when the DRS replays were being displayed on the giant screen. It wasn’t because of Cheteshwar Pujara not getting the big score after a solid start or the fact that he went with the DRS on a call which looked plumb in front. The veteran commentator’s anger was directed towards the Ahmedabad crowd, which moments after replays confirmed no bat on that LBW shout, rushed to the edge of the stands and started chanting “Kohli, Kohli”.

The umpire was yet to officially announce that the decision stayed and before Pujara could even sink in the moment and commence the toughest walk, the crowd was chanting for Kohli, the next man in to bat.

“It’s disrespect to Pujara when the DRS is on,” Bhogle was not a happy man as “Kohli, Kohli” only grew louder. The moment arrived and Pujara, after scoring a 121-ball 42, took the long staircase back to the hut. The fans didn’t have to wait for Kohli to descend the same staircase as the former Indian skipper was already in the dugout near the ropes and walked out to the middle. Not in the manner Bhogle would have liked.

A lot was at stake for Kohli. The right-hander was undergoing a lean patch with the bat in Tests and was in desperate need of a big score against his name.

Nagpur, Delhi and Indore were turners where most struggled but Kohli batted beautifully in Delhi but the big score continued to elude him. With the scoreboard reading 187/2, the 34-year-old couldn’t have asked for a better time and strip to return to his prime days.

No matter how much the pitch and conditions suit batting, there’s still work to be done and Kohli would have known that. Few deliveries tested the right-hander early in the innings and he didn’t look in control against both Nathan Lyon and Todd Murphy. He was jabbing harder than what was required on this surface and looked tentative while defending. Oohs and aahs were in plenty but Kohli was happy to work around for singles and stole a few in the circle too.

Ease vs pace

Mitchell Starc returned to the attack in the 73rd over of the innings and was set to bowl to Kohli who was going to face seam for the first time in the series. Over the last three Tests, Kohli didn’t face a single delivery by a seamer.

Steve Smith wanted to use Starc’s angle to his advantage but the move backfired as two boundaries in that over allowed Kohli to just ease himself in. A leaning off-drive and an easy clip off the pads moved Kohli from 9 to 17 and there was no looking back since then.

Before Starc’s introduction, Kohli was under the pump at just eight runs off 31 balls but looked positive after the first few boundaries and collected 23 off the next 27 balls. The bad balls were put away and he just looked to score. Even during the deliveries, he defended, Kohli got into scoring positions and had a positive approach. Something which worked for him.

The long wait

Since January 2022, the last time he scored a fifty in Tests, Kohli for sure has tried a lot of things but nothing has worked in the 15 innings. He looked very solid in the 44-run knock during the Delhi Test and seemed to have found a template against off-spin.

He just kept planting the front foot forward and keep working them towards the region between long-on and mid-wicket for singles.

Smith did try to plug that area with a silly mid-on and a mid-wicket but Kohli continued finding the little gap and kept rotating the strike. No wonder it was his most productive shot and helped him collect around 30% of the runs he scored today.

Still unbeaten on 58, Kohli has the best possible chance to end an even longer wait. The wait for a Test hundred which he last scored in the November 2019 Test against Bangladesh.

There have been few crucial hands in between but the three digits have eluded him. There will surely be a loud cheer, just like it was when he walked back unbeaten at stumps, when he walks out to bat again in the morning session and Kohli now has a golden opportunity to turn that into a roar with the long-awaited hundred.

Get the latest Cricket News here

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *