Virat Kohli hits 21st ton to keep India in hunt in Centurion Test against South Africa | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Virat Kohli hits 21st ton to keep India in hunt in Centurion Test against South Africa

Virat Kohli scored his 21st hundred and second against South Africa to keep India afloat in the Centurion Test.

cricket Updated: Jan 15, 2018 20:44 IST
Somshuvra Laha
Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring a century on the second day of the second Test match between South Africa and India in Centurion.
Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring a century on the second day of the second Test match between South Africa and India in Centurion.(BCCI )

Virat Kohli, India captain, scored his 21st Test hundred to lead India’s fightback on the third day of the second Test here on Monday. He took 146 balls to get to his century and hit 10 boundaries. Coming in on an overnight score of 85, Kohli didn’t waste many balls to reach this landmark. (South Africa vs India 2nd Test Day 3 Updates)

Two consecutive boundaries off Lungi Ngidi, an edge past gully followed by a crunching front-foot drive through covers got him in the 90s. He raised his hundred after tapping the ball towards midwicket for two runs, though the second was an afterthought due to an overthrow. (South Africa vs India 2nd Test Day 3 Scores)

If India need to make some dent on the first innings score of South Africa, they will need Kohli to play a big innings after Hardik Pandya had to pay the price for being overconfident while returning to the crease.

Kohli had come out on Sunday after Cheteshwar Pujara was needlessly run out the first ball of his innings. With India at 28/2 and desperately needing a good partnership, Kohli got down to business with a firm stride and the intent to get on top of every delivery.

(Read | Did Virat Kohli-Hardik Pandya do a Tendulkar-Dravid in countering reverse swing in Centurion?)

Aware of his weakness outside the stumps, South Africa tried bowling in that corridor but Kohli showed amazing control over his shots, pushing and driving according to the line of the delivery. He was strong both sides of the wicket, scoring most through covers though.

(Read | Debutant Lungi Ngidi elated after taking maiden Test scalp against India)

Two successive boundaries off Morne Morkel got Kohli off in style. He first drove Morkel through mid-on before reaching out for a wide delivery, placing it through covers. Kagiso Rabada and pacer Lungi Ngidi – making his debut – sometimes looked to bother Kohli with their bounce but the India captain was largely happy to just play them on merit.

The pitch had flattened considerably but technique was still required to score quickly. To Kohli’s credit, he moved a lot at the crease, trying to go across the stumps and get his head above every shot played through off. The flick shot helped him a couple of times.

What helped Kohli most though was his running between the wickets as India motored on despite not taking many risks. After lunch, Kohli again went after Morkel, milking him for two boundaries before bringing down the tempo with a few singles that allowed him to reach his fifty without much risk.

His first fifty consisted of seven boundaries but then Kohli tightened his defence, focusing only on singles and twos to keep the scoreboard ticking and help India reach 183/5 at stumps on Day 2.