Virat Kohli is flying high at the moment. In fact, he has been soaring for some time now. The India cricket superstar has established himself as a modern-day great and is frequently finds himself in conversations regarding the greatest of all time.
Having notched up 46 tons in all forms of international cricket, Kohli currently sits in the fifth position in the all-time list, 54 behind his idol and the leading century-maker Sachin Tendulkar.
He also lies in the same spot when it comes to all-time leading run-scorers having amassed a staggering 17,125 runs in 365 innings at an average of 55.6, the highest among any batsman with more than 10,000 runs.
Here, we take a look at signature Kohli innings across all three formats.
141 against Australia – Adelaide 2014
This is a ton which has been described as his finest by the man himself. Then newly appointed as the skipper of the Indian Test side, Kohli led by example in the opening Border-Gavaskar Trophy Test against Australia at Adelaide in December 2014.
Michael Clarke’s Australia put on 517-7 in their first innings after winning the toss, with India managing 444 courtesy a masterful 115 from Kohli. In the second innings, the hosts declared on 290, setting India a target of 363.
Kohli led India’s charge one again with an attacking 175-ball 141 that took India close to pulling off an incredible overseas win before a late order collapse following the skipper’s dismissal. It was an innings which defined Kohli’s batting and captaincy.
82* against Australia – Mohali 2016
In a virtual quarter-final at the 2016 ICC World Twenty20, hosts India took on Australia in a Super 10 clash at Mohali. On a difficult track, the Aussies set India a target of 161 after batting first.
The Men in Blue were in all kinds of trouble at 94-4 by the end of the 14th over but with Kohli at the crease, the chase was still on. The right-hander started with quick singles and doubles before moving up a gear. He forged an unbeaten match-winning partnership of 67 with MS Dhoni as India won with five balls to spare.
It was a Herculean effort by Kohli who sank to his knees as India scored the winning runs. A perfect example of a master ‘chaser’ finishing the job.
183 against Pakistan – Dhaka 2012
Then only a 23-year-old, Kohli walked in to the crease in the third delivery of India’s innings as Gautam Gambhir was dismissed for a duck. The right-hander then put on an exhibition of risk-free batting with maximum results, a style he has mastered since.
He played genuine cricketing shots all around the park, collecting 22 boundaries and a sole six to register his highest ODI score (183). He was eventually dismissed 12 runs short of the target but India still won with more than three overs to spare.
Despite South Africa chipping away with wickets throughout the third day, Australia strengthened their grip on the opening Test between the two sides when bad light caused an early stop to Saturday’s play at Durban.
The visitors were batting on 213-9 in their second innings when stumps were called with an overall lead of 402.
We look at the key talking points from what was a pivotal day of cricket in the first Test.
STEVE SMITH’S 10,000
After his fifty in the first innings, Steve Smith was once again looking solid and on course for his sixth consecutive score of 50 plus when he was dismissed for 38. Nevertheless, the Aussie skipper notched up 10,000 international runs during the course of his knock, becoming the 13th from his country to do so.
Smith’s average while getting those runs – 50.6 – is the third highest among all batsmen who have reached the mark.
Highest batting average in international cricket…
(min 10000 intl runs)
55.60 – Virat Kohli
50.80 – Joe Root
50.55* – Steve Smith
49.10 – Jacques Kallis
49.00 – Mike Hussey
48.75 – Viv Richards
48.52 – Sachin Tendulkar#SAvAus
— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) March 3, 2018
MAHARAJ STANDS OUT
While the Proteas pacers grabbed the attention coming into the match, it was Keshav Maharaj who stood out in the first innings with a five-wicket haul.
He followed it up with three wickets on the third day to take his match tally to eight. The young left-armer is fast developing a solid reputation with his orthodox, yet wily spin bowling.
ELGAR’S GOLDEN ARM
Smith survived a close lbw shout which was turned down by the umpire when batting on 30 against Keshav Maharaj. The hosts reviewed immediately however, with the Aussie skipper saved by millimetres.
His luck ran out eight overs later as he was adjudged lbw against Dean Elgar in his very first over. Smith opted to review but there was no relief as he became the first batsman to be dismissed twice by Elgar, a part-time spinner with only 14 Test wickets to his name.
A few decent scalps in Dean Elgar's 14 Test wickets.— Louis Cameron (@LouisDBCameron) March 3, 2018
That's the second time he's got Smith out (bowled him in Cape Town in '14), has also dismissed Misbah, Pujara, Rahane, Dhawan and Tamim #SAvAUS
SOUTH AFRICA’S UPHILL BATTLE
With Australia’s lead over 400, the hosts will have to achieve the impossible with the bat to get anything out of this Test. The highest total ever chased down on South African soil in the final innings is 340 by the hosts themselves against the same opposition at the same venue in 2002.
Kingsmead is no longer the fortress it once was for the South Africans. Since 2008, they have won only one Test at the venue, against India in 2013. This period has included losses against Sri Lanka, Australia and England. Hence, when Faf du Plessis‘ men come out to bat, they will be up against history.
On a slow track at Wellington which was difficult to bat on, the hosts required 15 runs off the last over in their reply to England’s 234 but fell short of the finishing line in a low-scoring but highly entertaining contest.
Here, we take a look at the standout performances, both good and bad.
ENGLAND SPINNERS BREAK KIWI BACK
Chasing a meager 235, New Zealand looked comfortable at 80-1 with Colin Munro firing on all cylinders. That all changed in the 18th over when Adil Rashid had Munro walking back to the pavilion after a fine catch by Ben Stokes.
That was just the start of things to come as Rashid (2-34), along with Moeen Ali, rattled the Black Caps’ middle-order. The slow nature of the surface saw Ali (3-36) remove Mark Chapman, Colin de Grandhomme and Henry Nicholls in quick succession. At the other end, Rashid accounted for Tom Latham who departed for a golden-duck.
Within six overs from England’s spin-pair, New Zealand went from 80-1 to 103-6, a defining period of the game which clinched it eventually for the visitors.
KANE WILLIAMSON BATTLES ON
On a surface where no other batsmen crossed the 50-run mark, Kane Williamson’s unbeaten 112 deserves special praise even though it came in a losing cause. The Kiwi skipper’s solid technique saw him succeed where others failed.
The skipper battled along as wickets fell at the other end, forming a 96-run seventh-wicket stand with Mitchell Santner. He brought up his 11th ODI century in the penultimate over with a boundary off Tom Curran but couldn’t take his team over the finish line as the asking rate got too much for him in the end. However, it was a gritty knock on an extremely difficult track, underlining the class of Williamson.
CHAPMAN’S WILD SLOG OPENS THE GATES
New Zealand were still ahead in the game when Rashid dismissed Munro to reduce them to 80-2 in the chase. With Williamson batting steadily at one end, a mature innings was needed from young batsman Mark Chapman.
Despite spinners looking menacing on the track, the youngster stepped out his crease to hit Moeen Ali out of the ground. He got into a poor position as he went for maximum power and was caught easily at point. That wicket started a middle-order slide for the Kiwis as they lost their next three batsmen for just six runs.
SANTNER’S LUCK RUNS OUT
With New Zealand in deep trouble at 103-6, Mitchell Santner came in and carried on his brilliant form with the bat. Along, with Williamson, he stabilised the slide with a plucky 41 full of streaky shots. He lived dangerously but kept up the fight, so much so that the Black Caps got close to the target.
However, his innings came to a cruel end when Williamson drove straight back at Chris Woakes. The bowler failed to latch on to a difficult catch as the ball brushed his fingertips on the way to the stumps at the non-striker’s end. Santner did not even wait for a decision, the dismissal being his first in the series after a total of 149 runs.