Kohli shows his ma­tu­rity with record-break­ing dou­ble cen­tury

7 Days in Dubai - - FRONT PAGE -

Ev­ery grey hair in Vi­rat Kohli’s beard seemed to have added a tonne of ma­tu­rity to his game as he teamed up with Ajinkya Ra­hane to re­write the record books on Day 2 of the third Test against New Zealand in In­dore. Kohli crossed 3,500 Test runs en route to his high­est Test score of 211, while Ra­hane was un­lucky to fall for 188 af­ter go­ing past 2,000 Test runs in the process.

Kohli’s re­cent run of poor form seemed like stuff of the dis­tant past as he built his in­nings, re­sist­ing the urge to at­tack the short ball and leav­ing any­thing wide out­side the off stump.

Statis­ti­cians were kept busy through­out as both bats­men crossed im­por­tant mile­stones dur­ing the course of the day.

Kohli laid fur­ther claim to his record-beater tag by be­com­ing the first In­dian to score two dou­ble hun­dreds as cap­tain. His 366ball in­nings was clas­si­cal Test-match bat­ting – his shots were el­e­gant and weighted with no sign of dis­dain even for the sloppy half-tracker.

Kohli has al­ways come back strongly af­ter a lean patch and worked on his weak­nesses. He has al­ways coun­tered bowlers and has con­tin­ued to evolve ev­ery as­pect of his game.

His cel­e­bra­tion on reach­ing 200 had much to say about his in­nings and his evo­lu­tion as a Test bats­man.

Com­men­ta­tors and ob­servers were be­gin­ning to en­ter­tain the opin­ion that Test cap­taincy had taken a toll on his bat­ting, but his dis­play against the New Zealand bowl­ing at­tack com­pletely de­railed that train of thought.

Known for his counter-at­tack­ing and ag­gres­sive bat­ting Kohli gave ev­ery bowler his due re­spect.

He ef­fort­lessly made the shift from play­ing cross bat­ted swats at shorter de­liv­er­ies to show­ing them the full face of his ver­ti­cal bat.

Cramps and tired­ness did seem to creep in as Kohli walked out at tea and it wasn’t long be­fore he was trapped leg be­fore at­tempt­ing to whip a de­liv­ery from spin­ner Jee­tan Pa­tel to mid­wicket. But the dam­age was al­ready done and the pair had put to­gether In­dia’s high­est fourth­wicket part­ner­ship - 365 - bet­ter­ing Sachin Ten­dulkar and VVS Lax­man’s 353 in the fourth Test against Aus­tralia in Syd­ney in 2004.

While it is hard to say if Kohli’s pa­tient in­nings is the be­gin­ning of a new him in Test cricket or if it was just what he needed to get back much-needed con­fi­dence, the ef­fec­tive­ness of his game seems to still be on point.

Op­po­nents will now have to plan for the pa­tient, poised and ma­ture Vi­rat Kohli to go with the ag­gres­sive, dom­i­neer­ing and flam­boy­ant one.

CAP­TAIN SUPREME: In­dian skip­per Vi­rat Kohli

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