Two years ago, when India travelled to England, they lost the 5-match test series 1-3. Virat Kohli played 10 innings and averaged a paltry 13.40 with a highest score of 39. On six occasions, Kohli was dismissed for a single-digit score and more often than not, he fell while chasing away-swinging deliveries. James Anderson took Kohli’s wicket 4 times in tests but Kohli couldn’t overcome the mental block even in the shorter formats that followed. India won the ODI series 3-1 but not because of Kohli. He averaged just 18 in four games and his best tour performance came with a 41-ball 66 in the tour’s only T-20 game that India lost. That was Kohli’s only fifty of the tour. However, to Kohli’s credit, he recovered from the loss of form with passage of time now he is India’s full-time test captain. On July 22, Kohli scored the first double century of his entire first-class career, after India had lost two early wickets after winning the toss and electing to bat. Morning conditions seemed favorable to bowlers on Day 1 of the first test at Sir Vivian Richards stadium Antigua. But Kohli joined Shikhar Dhawan and changed the course of the match. It was the same Kohli, who had not been rewarded with a test cap until pretty late in his career. He has now repeatedly proved that he is not just the master of ODIs and T-20s alone. His test performance since he donned the mantle of India’s test captain has been quite solid.
5 years ago in 2011, it was during India’s last tour to the same West Indies that Virat Kohli began his test career. By then, he had played 59 ODIs and 4 T-20s for India. Many people thought that Kohli’s exclusion from test squads was a disfavor to him, since his techniques and approach to the game were based on classical style rather than the hit-and-run or hand-eye coordination factors. Kohli donned the mantle of captaincy during India’s tour to Australia and became the only cricketer to score three centuries in his first three innings as Test captain. He had Ravi Shastri as Team manager during the Sri Lankan tour last year and until then; India had not scored an overseas test-series win for four years. Kohli changed that with his personal and leadership performance. Since then, his stars are on the rise. He has an amazing ability to quickly adjust himself shorter formats, where he is unmatched by most international cricketers. He gave the proof of his consistency in the 2016 IPL tournament with the status of a runaway lead-scorer, despite his RCB team losing in the final.
On Thursday, Kohli won the toss at Antigua and elected to bat. Opener Murali Vijay found the West Indies speedsters too hot to handle during his short stay at the crease. He managed a boundary in his score of 7, before an outside edge off Shannon Gabriel sent him back to pavilion. New man Cheteshwar Pujara hung around for long with Shikhar Dhawan and after a long grind lasting nearly 1½ hours, fell LBW to leg spinner Devendra Bishoo. It was here that Virat Kohli walked in. With Dhawan at the other end, Kohli added 105 for the third wicket before Dhawan fell in the 55th over for a well-compiled 84 off 147 balls. The captain had already brought some kind of solidarity and he carried on with Ajinkya Rahane for the next 10 overs. But Rahane got out as another victim to Bishoo, who deceived Rahane with the slow ball. Completely foxed, Rahane holed out to mid-wicket and India were reduced to 236/4 in the 68th over. Ravichandran Ashwin joined his captain and the two carried the day for India to finish at 302/4 in 90 overs.
Kohli had reached his 12th test century on first day in the 69th over bowled by Brathwaite and he bagan the second day unbeaten on 143. Ashwin was patient at the other end and allowed his captain as much strike as possible. Both players ensured that they didn’t throw away their wicket cheaply. Kohli reached his maiden double century in the 119th over of the innings. The milestone made Kohli as the first test captain from India to notch up the double hundred on an overseas tour. But Kohli fell soon enough. In the next over, Gabriel produced a 140 km/her delivery that struck Kohli’s bat at the bottom and veered off to hit the stumps. However, India had already crossed 400 and Ashwin was playing like a seasoned test cricketer. The Tamilnadu off-spinner went to complete his third century in test matches in the 151st over and also took India past 500. Amit Mishra and Wriddhiman Saha were others, who got amongst runs. While Mishra reached his half century, Saha added an invaluable 40 as India declared their first innings at 566/8. In the 16 overs remaining for the day, India snapped up the wicket of opener Rajendra Chandrika in 15th over as West Indies ended the second day at 31/1 and are long way off from safety.
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