Virat Kohli hit his first Test century in over three years on Sunday, ending his long drought with an imperious 186 on day four of the final Test at Ahmedabad on Sunday.
After levelling the scores, Kohli then accelerated and made Australia’s bowlers pay, in the end finally falling to off-spinner Todd Murphy in the final session as India’s innings finished on 571/9 in response to Australia’s 480. Shreyas Iyer didn’t come out to bat due to a back issue that needed scans.
Here’s a look at the session-wise summary:
The hosts managed just 73 runs in 32 overs of the morning session after losing overnight batter Ravindra Jadeja for 28.
India lost the sole wicket of Jadeja early in the day after he suddenly switched his approach from a sensible, classic Test innings to one where he went after Todd Murphy’s spin. However, one boundary in and he lost his wicket in the process, holing out to Usman Khawaja at mid-on.
The change in approach from Jadeja, or his lack of patience, came as a bit of surprise as India still had a big deficit to clear and with concerns around Shreyas Iyer’s fitness and perhaps, availability. Harsha Bhogle on commentary confirmed, that Iyer complained of back pain and had gone for scans.
Kohli, who awaits his first Test century since November 2019, remained unbeaten on 88 after he went about cautiously on the Ahmedabad pitch. Kohli went past 80 for the first time since his Test ton drought, with his previous highest score of 79 in South Africa in January 2022.
At lunch, India finished at 362/4 with Kohli twelve runs away from a long-awaited century. After Jadeja’s dismissal, the batter combined with wicket-keeper batter KS Bharat (25*) to stitch an unbeaten 53-run partnership. India trail by 118 runs at Lunch.
Virat Kohli hit his first Test century since November 2019, ending his long drought on day four of the fourth Test against Australia on Sunday.
Resuming on 59 after reaching his first Test half-century on Saturday since January 2022, the landmark came after a patient innings of 241 balls as he eased Nathan Lyon for a single.
At tea, India were left to erase an 8-run deficit. While Kohli reached his ton, KS Bharat demonstrated briefly why people have continued to have faith in him before he departed for 44. However, Axar Patel and Virat Kohli worked together to propel India to a dominating position at 472/6.
After India levelled the scores, Kohli upped the ante and the scoring rate. However, India lost their last 4 wickets for just 16 runs. While Axar Patel, the most assured Indian batter in this series, brought up his fourth Test fifty, the duo stitched a mammoth sixth wicket stand. However, following his dismissal, India lost the wickets as well as the momentum.
Kohli was looking good and on course for a double hundred but he lost partners on the other end. He first lost Ashwin, India’s last proper batter, to a badly timed slog-sweep at deep mid-wicket. In the very next over, Umesh Yadav was dismissed before he could face a ball thanks to a brilliant fielding effort from Peter Handscomb to run him out.
With Iyer unavailable to bat, Kohli fell to a slog having scored 186 runs and after handing India a 91-run lead.
In the second essay of the Test match, Australia managed to navigate the end of day’s play without losing a wicket. Although Matthew Kuhnemann, the nightwatchman for Australia, was troubled by Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja, they ended up being missed opportunities. Travis Head and Kuhnemann will resume the overnight score of 3/0 on the final day of the Test.
Usman Khawaja had injured himself while fielding.
With Sri Lanka still in with a chance to win in New Zealand on the final day in Christchurch, it remains to be seen how much India force the issue on Monday.
With inputs from AFP