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The Star Early Edition - - SPORT -

NEW DELHI: Vi­rat Kohli ap­pears able to pro­duce mir­a­cles with his bat and the In­dia cap­tain mas­ter­minded yet an­other suc­cess­ful chase in Sun­day’s run-feast against Eng­land to en­hance his rep­u­ta­tion as the sec­ond in­nings king of one-day cricket.

Bat­ting sec­ond al­lows a bats­man to set his tempo ac­cord­ing to de­mand, yet it is con­sid­ered a true lit­mus test of stroke-mak­ing ex­cel­lence due to the con­stant score­board pres­sure.

This was never more ev­i­dent than when the op­po­si­tion racked up 350 runs and re­duced In­dia to 63/4 like Eng­land did in Pune on Sun­day, threat­en­ing to spoil Kohli’s first match in charge since tak­ing over the lim­ited-overs cap­taincy.

The 28-year-old replied with a sub­lime 122, forg­ing a 200-run part­ner­ship with fel­low cen­tu­rion Kedar Jad­hav, to help In­dia chase down the steep tar­get with 11 balls to spare.

Kohli’s ton equalled Sachin Ten­dulkar’s record of 17 sec­ond in­nings cen­turies, a fact made even more re­mark­able considering he took 136 in­nings fewer than the re­tired great, who was quick to laud the cen­tu­ri­ons on Twit­ter.

Former Eng­land cap­tain Michael Vaughan was far more suc­cinct in his as­sess­ment of the In­dia cap­tain, who is ranked among the top two in all three formats of the game.

“VI­RAT KOHLI IS FROM AN­OTHER PLANET #Fact,” Vaughan tweeted, fol­low­ing it with an­other en­try in which he rated the right-han­der as the top bats­man in each for­mat.

Af­ter winning the toss at the Ma­ha­rash­tra Cricket As­so­ci­a­tion Sta­dium, Kohli was prob­a­bly un­sure what would con­sti­tute a good to­tal at the com­pact venue host­ing only its sec­ond one-day in­ter­na­tional.

Rather un­sur­pris­ingly he opted to field and de­spite cut­ting a frus­trated fig­ure as Eng­land blud­geoned In­dia late in their in­nings, Kohli was calm­ness per­son­i­fied when his 27th one-day ton helped the hosts take a 1-0 lead in the three-match se­ries.

This was the third time In­dia has chased down a 350-plus tar­get and on each oc­ca­sion Kohli has struck a cen­tury.

Since his 2008 de­but, In­dia have over­whelmed tar­gets of 300 or more on eight oc­ca­sions and Kohli failed to get a cen­tury in just two of those wins.

This was also the 15th time that a Kohli ton cul­mi­nated in a suc­cess­ful chase, more than any other bats­man has man­aged in this for­mat.

In­dia’s bat­ting main­stay av­er­ages a mind­bog­gling 91 in suc­cess­ful one-day chases but his away record is slightly less im­pres­sive.

Of his 17th sec­ond in­nings cen­turies, eight came in away matches and only four out­side Asia, in­clud­ing one in Harare.

Hav­ing built an almost im­preg­nable game and fu­elled by an in­sa­tiable hunger for runs, Kohli is un­likely to set­tle for just South Asian dom­i­nance and will look to ex­port his sec­ond in­nings ex­cel­lence to grounds all over the world. – Reuters

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