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Kohli flowers on Delhi’s day

Virat Kohli turned all of 19 on Monday and celebrated his final teen year with a brilliant 106 against ajasthan on Day Two of their Ranji tie at the Ferozeshah, reports Arjun Sen.

india Updated: Nov 06, 2007 00:24 IST
Arjun Sen

Often, the best gifts are those you give yourself. Virat Kohli turned all of 19 on Monday and the Delhi No 4 celebrated his final teen year with a brilliant 106 against Rajasthan on Day Two of their Ranji tie at the Ferozeshah Kotla.

In the 15th over of the day, Kohli straight-drove Sumit Mathur for the first of his 18 boundaries. Everything about the shot was perfect - the timing, the footwork, the hand-eye co-ordination, everything.

Though the ball crashed against the advertising hoardings many, many times after that, that straight drive was the shot of the day.

At stumps, Delhi were in complete control at 317/4, 351 ahead overall. The unbeaten batsmen, Mithun Manhas (86*) and Rajat Bhatia (65*), are settled. Rajasthan would do very well to avoid defeat.

Delhi started at 6/0, Aakash Chopra and Shikhar Dhawan looking to nullify the moving ball. But with just 24 on the board, the latter went, caught at second slip off Pankaj Singh.

Wicketkeeper Puneet Bisht, promoted to No.3, didn't last long, adjudged caught-behind off Singh for 0. At 24/2, visions of another Delhi collapse were getting ever more vivid.

But Chopra and Kohli had other ideas. The two played themselves in on a wicket which, though not doing as much as on the first day, was still far from easy.

Once set, the two began to dispatch the bad balls. Kohli, in particular, found the fence with alarming regularity. He was severe on everything short and wide, driving and cutting with consummate ease. Shailender Gehlot was taken for 12 off the 26th over, the most expensive of the day. The three boundaries - a vicious square-cut and two perfectly-timed drives - showed his class. His half-century, which came off 71 balls, was embellished with 10 fours.

The Rajasthan bowlers, however, bounced right after that. Finding a probing line, they suddenly stifled the flow of runs with four consecutive maidens before lunch. But it seemed Delhi would go into the break without further loss of wickets. It wasn't to be, though. Chopra departed off the last ball before lunch, falling lbw to Mathur for 34. Skipper Mithun Manhas came in next and had a scratchy start. He was dropped thrice --- at cover, fine-leg and behind the wicket --- on way to 86.

Dropped catches proved costly for Rajasthan: they spilled four chances in the day, one off Kohli when he was on 64, to exacerbate their already weak position. Kohli, who reached his ton off 180 balls, completely missed a straight delivery from Gehlot on 106 to find his middle stump taking a walk.

Manhas, who had found his feet by then, was joined by Rajat Bhatia. The two plundered runs on a wicket that had lost its juice.

The two have added 123 runs for the fifth wicket to take Delhi to a position of supremacy.