Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma overwhelm sloppy Sri Lanka, put India on top
The Vidarbha Cricket Association Stadium wicket is good to bat on, but it needed the genius of Virat Kohli to make the most of it. The batsmen ahead of him had made batting look a laborious vocation, but the India captain was all at ease from ball one. (India vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test Highlights)
The difference in class was apparent. After Sri Lanka fell like nine pins, Cheteshwar Pujara and Murali Vijay had sweated on their way to hundreds in the second Test. Kohli’s effortless display must have been left them wondering if they were all playing on the same track. (India vs Sri Lanka 2nd Test scorecard)
Virat Kohli smashed a double hundred (213, 17 fours, two sixes) and Rohit Sharma hit an unbeaten 102 (eight fours, one six) to help India declare their innings at 610/6 on the third day. With a lead of 405 runs and two days to go, Sri Lanka face an uphill task of saving the Test.
To add to Sri Lanka’s misery, Ishant Sharma came up with the ball of the match to clean up opener Sadeera Samarawickrama, clipping the top of off-stump as the batsman shouldered arms to the second ball of the innings. At 21/1 at stumps, they trail by 384 runs.
Kohli’s basics are very strong. Perfectly balanced at the crease, his head is still and the shot selection is followed by the perfect transfer of weight to generate power. And the wrist-work gives him that silken touch. All of it was in sync on Sunday as he treated the holiday crowd to delightful batting.
It is his fifth Test double century, equalling Rahul Dravid’s record of double hundreds. Only Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar are ahead of him, with six each.
Starting the day on 54, Kohli produced a fine exhibition of controlled aggression. The India captain seemed to enjoy batting with Rohit Sharma. The two toyed with the bowling, and when their partnership touched 150 (off 220 balls), Kohli had contributed 69 and Sharma 75. The two were separated at the total of 583 when Kohli holed out to long on after a 173-run partnership.
Kohli now has seven 150-plus scores in 19 Test hundreds, and if one adds his two innings of 140 plus, 141 and 147, it amounts to a superb conversion rate. In the opening Test, Virat had hit an unbeaten 104 in the second innings at the Eden Gardens. That makes it two in two innings.
India were in a strong position when Rohit came out to bat, but from a personal point of view it was an important innings for the Mumbai batsman. He is playing his first Test after the home series against New Zealand in late 2016 and only got the break because India chose to go in with four bowlers instead of the usual five.
Sharma made the most of it though, getting a century after having made three half-centuries in his last three Tests.