Virat Kohli's 100th Test: Five most memorable moments from the Indian superstar's career ahead of landmark Mohali game
Ahead of Kohli's landmark 100th match, we look at the most memorable moments from the Indian superstar's Test career.
As cliched as it may sound, but it seems as if it was only yesterday that a young Virat Kohli walked out to play his first Test innings for India at the Sabina Park in Kingston. From scoring 4 and 15 on his Test debut against the West Indies in 2011, Kohli today stands one match away from representing India for the 100th time in whites. In these 11 years, Kohli has evolved from being a brash and cocky youngster into the best batter of his era. One may argue that the centuries from his bat have dried up, but Kohli's level of consistency is still a benchmark for many.
Along the way, Kohli succeeded MS Dhoni as India's captain and became the country's most successful skipper of all time in Tests, leading the team to 40 wins. At the same time, his batting peaked, and under Kohli, India became a force to be reckoned with. Ahead of Kohli's landmark 100th match, we take a look at the most memorable moments from the Indian superstar's Test career.
1 Adelaide Arrival
Five months after his Test debut for India, Kohli arrived on the scene in January of 2012, when he scored his maiden century – against Australia at Adelaide. As India's fabled batting line-up, including the Fab 4, faltered and appeared clueless against the dominating Aussies, Kohli was the lone centurion for MS Dhoni's team across four Tests. Kohli had gotten starts in the 3rd Test, scoring 44 and 75 as India were hammered in the first three Tests. Coming into the final game of the series, India were put under the pump again before Kohli rose to the occasion. At the SCG, Kohli had infamously flipped the crowd and he channeled his inner urge of giving it back to the Aussies by scoring a fine 116. The series was lost, but in Kohli, India had found a shining, young batting star.
2 Achieving batting nirvana in Australia 2014
Kohli maiden Test tour of England was a debacle as he ended up scoring just 131 runs from five Tests. After coming up short against the English challenge, another stern test in Australia awaited the 24-year-old. However, this time around, Kohli would ooze confidence and establish dominance. Even though India lost the series 0-2, Kohli's batting peaked and achieved nirvana. He scored four centuries from four Tests, including twin tons in Adelaide – a match where he brought India to the brink of victory only to return disappointed – and finished the series with a mind-boggling 692 runs. A star was born and the entire world's bowling attacks were put on notice.
3 The 2016 reign of terror
The year 2016 was to Kohli what 1998 was to Sachin Tendulkar. It was a year where nothing could go wrong for the Indian superstar. In the IPL, Kohli had scored over 900 runs and he had single-handedly took India to the semi-final of the T20 World Cup. If before 2016, Kohli was labelled as the run-machine and one of the best batters in the world, by the time the year ended, he was THE GUY. 2016 saw Kohli being at his peak of his batting prowess and with a long home series line up, he would go on to feast on bowling attacks of England, West Indies, Bangladesh and New Zealand. Kohli scored 251 runs from 4 Tests against Windies, 309 from three matches against the Kiwis, a whopping 655 runs against England and a double century against Bangladesh in a one-off Test. Overall, his tally read a staggering 1457 runs including five centuries, three of which he converted into double tons. Kohli became the first captain to register nine Test wins in a calendar year, third to score three double centuries in a year after Don Bradman and Ricky Ponting and the first Indian to aggregate over 1000 runs in a year since Rahul Dravid's 1145 runs in 2011. Wow.
4 A comeback for the ages
When a Kohli-led England touched down in the UK for a five-Test series in 2018, James Anderson was smacking his lips. After all, four years ago, Anderson had proven to be Kohli's kryptonite and it was natural for the veteran pacer to fancy his chances again. Only this time around, the battle would be won by the India captain and rather convincingly. Battling the demons of 2014, Kohli was unstoppable against the same opponent. He piled centuries in Edgbaston and Nottingham, to go with three half-centuries and ended the five-match series with 593 runs – 244 more than the second-best. Unfortunately though, India could not win in England, losing the series 1-3, but Kohli had dished out another masterclass which was in full throttle in the swinging English conditions, and against a bowling attack that comprised Anderson, Stuart Broad and an emerging Sam Curran.
5 Conquering Australia Down Under and leading India back to No. 1 rankings in Test
When Kohli took over Test captaincy, India were ranked No. 7. By the time he gave it up, India finished five years in a row as the No. 1-ranked Test team. Kohli is India's most successful Test captain, and the biggest achievement of his captaincy career arrived in 2018, when India beat Australia on their soil to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. It took India 71 years and 12 series to script history as a Kohli's defiant unit beat the Aussies 2-1 with wins in Adelaide and Melbourne. Kohli scored 282 runs at an average of 40 – not his most flattering series batting wise – but as captain, he cemented his place in the history books as one of the very few to have landed a knockout punch to Australia on their soil. Three years later in 2021, Kohli came close to adding another feather in his captaincy hat as under him, India beat England at Lord's and the Oval to take a 2-1 lead. Heading into the fifth and final match at Manchester, India were labelled favourites to register a Test series win in England after 14 years, but the emergence of Covid cases in the Indian camp extinguished those hopes and the match was called off.