India captain Virat Kohli hailed Ishant Sharma for his longevity in the game as the fast bowler braces to compete in his 100th Test.

Ishant played his 99th Test in the second match of the ongoing series against England and will become the second Indian pacer after Kapil Dev, and the 11th overall, to feature in 100 Tests if he is included in the third match of the series, which begins in Ahmedabad on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference ahead of the third Test against England, Kohli said Ishant has been a big asset to Indian cricket over the years.

“It’s rare to see a pacer have such longevity these days,” said Kohli on Tuesday. “Ishant could’ve easily prioritised white-ball cricket but full credit to him that he didn’t. I’m so happy that he is playing his 100th Test and hope he plays for India for many more years.”

Both Ishant and Kohli made their first-class debut for Delhi in the same match back in 2006. Reflecting on the long journey they have had together as professional cricketers, the skipper said that the lanky pacer has honed his skills consistently over the years.

“Ishant started playing state cricket with me. When he got selected for India, he was sleeping and I had to kick him to wake him up and give him the news. That’s how far we go. We have great trust between us. I’ve been very happy to see him enjoy his bowling over the years,” said Kohli.

Looking ahead at the third Test against England at the Motera Stadium in Ahmedabad, which will be played with a pink ball and will be a day-night game, Kohli said that the conditions will be challenging for batsmen as there is likely to be swing on offer for the fast bowlers.

“The pink ball does tend to swing a lot more than the red ball. It’s much more challenging to bat against a new pink ball. The period in the evening is very challenging. We are preparing accordingly,” said Kohli.