The Mumbai crowd had filled up the Wankhede Stadium on Saturday to mainly watch India skipper Virat Kohli bat. And the toast of the nation didn’t disappoint his legion of fans with a brilliant effort for his 15th Test hundred.
Kohli carried India past England’s total of 400, remaining unbeaten on 147 at stumps. In the process, he became the second India captain, after Sunil Gavaskar, to score over 500 runs in a series while leading the team.
With his name reverberating in the stands, Kohli stole a single in the covers to reach the three figure mark. The crowd welcomed it with thunderous applause, creating a buzz similar to when Sachin Tendulkar used to hold sway here.
The knock, studded with 17 fours, was remarkable for the way he soaked up pressure after Murali Vijay’s dismissal. Wickets kept tumbling at the other end, but Kohli stood firm.
When Kohli reached his hundred, India were still 30 runs from England’s total, but he carried on with Jayant Yadav. The only chance he offered was on 68, but Adil Rashid failed to hold on to a full-blooded drive back low to his left.
England’s star batsman Joe Root, always compared with Kohli (they are second and third respectively in the ICC Test rankings), said he is inspired by the Indian skipper’s competitiveness.
“He is obviously very driven, very ambitious. You can see that from the way he approaches the game, he’s very emotional. He wears his heart on his sleeve. I wouldn’t say he’s intimidating. It is quite good to play against guys who express how they feel and make you uncomfortable. For me, personally it gets me going and it gets me in that competitive mode,” he said.
Kohli had given the spectators early cause for celebration when he reached 41, completing 4,000 career runs. Kohli has reached the mark in his 52nd Test.
Averaging 48 plus, Kohli is closing in on the 50-plus mark, seen as the benchmark for great players.