Virat Kohli found his midas touch in Tests after going ten innings without a century as he notched his highest ever score in the format against South Africa in Pune.
It was another gem of an innings from the Indian captain and it adds to an ever-growing collection of stellar knocks. But how does it compare to the other superb displays in his career, though?
We examine 10 of his best knocks, in no particular order, across all formats.
133* versus Sri Lanka at Hobart (2012)
This was the knock that marked Virat Kohli’s arrival into the big time. India had to chase down an improbable 321-run target in under 40 overs to qualify for the tri-series final and the hopes were quickly fading. In the end, the Men in Blue completed the job with four overs to spare after a sensational 86-run knock from Kohli.
While even the legendary Sachin Tendulkar got his first one-day hundred in Australia in only in his fourth tour, Kohli did so on his maiden visit. One of the highlights of the knock was the manner in which Kohli dismantled Lasith Malinga in that game, scoring 31 runs off the final eight deliveries from the pacer.
153* versus South Africa (2018)
With this super innings, Virat Kohli became the only the second Indian captain to score a Test ton in South Africa. He stood tall while the rest of the Indian batting crumbled against the likes of Kagiso Rabada, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel at Centurion in the first innings. The India skipper copped multiple blows to his body on a bouncy and pacy Centurion pitch but flinch he did not in a stellar unbeaten knock of 153. Unfortunately for Kohli, India were unable to capitalise on his innings and fell to a 135-run loss.
82* versus Australia at Mohali (2016)
This will probably be rated as one of the best ever T20I innings. Facing a steep run-chase of 161 against the Australia, India were staring at a defeat after being reduced to 49- 3 towards the end of the eighth over. Up stepped Kohli and he started by sharing a 67-run partnership with MS Dhoni in which the keeper-batsman’s contribution was just 18.
Still, India needed 47 off the final 24 deliveries to win and the game looked to be slipping away. Ultimately, the hosts got there with five deliveries to spare as Kohli plundered 19 runs off an over from James Faulkner and 16 from the subsequent one from Nathan Coulter-Nile.
149 versus England at Birmingham (2018)
After a dismal 2014 series in England where he failed spectacularly against James Anderson, Virat Kohli silenced his critics with a spanking century in tough conditions. He scored more runs in this innings than he had in the entire 2014 tour of England (134 runs in 10 innings). With a vociferous Barmy Army in the background and a pacy England attack in front of him, he carried the team with a fighting ton.
He batted expertly with the tail, shielding the likes of Umesh Yadav, Mohammed Shami and Ishant Sharma and managing to add 105 runs to the total for the final three wickets. This was his 22nd Test ton and his first in England.
183 versus Pakistan at Dhaka (2012)
This knock was yet another chasing masterclass from the India superstar. After Pakistan openers Mohammad Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed scored centuries to set up a stiff target of 329, Virat Kohli tore into their bowling attack with a rapid knock.
Striking at 123.64, he came tantalisingly close to becoming the first ever player to score a double-ton in an ODI while chasing. The opposition captain Misbah ul Haq was full of praise for Kohli’s knock and called it the best innings he had ever seen in person.
116 versus Australia at Adelaide (2012)
India lost the series 4-0 and in that whitewash, the lone bright spark was India’s future star Virat Kohli announcing his arrival Down Under with his maiden ton. He walked in when India was tottering at 111-5 and powered through hostile bowling and sledging from the dominant Aussies to reach three figures for the first time in his Test career. It was a sign of things to come as he returned in 2014 to smash four centuries in Australia.
89* versus Windies at Mumbai (2016)
This was an innings worthy of a World Cup semi-final. After Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan provided a good start, Kohli propelled India to a huge total of 192. He smacked 11 boundaries and one six in his 47-ball blitz while his running between the wickets was a sight to behold. He toyed with the Windies attack at times and it was a pity that the knock wasn’t enough for India to secure a win. He even picked up a rare wicket with the ball when West Indies batted.
100* versus Australia at Jaipur (2013)
India had never chased 300 successfully against Australia before this game. They ended up chasing down 359 in 44 overs at Jaipur thanks to centuries from Rohit Sharma and Virat Kohli. Kohli registered the fastest ODI century by an Indian, in 52 balls, tonking seven sixes in his emphatic knock. This was also the 2nd highest successful chase in ODI history.
235* versus England at Mumbai (2016)
It was the third double-ton of the year for the Indian captain. He pulverised the England bowling attack to the ground and helped India amass a total of 631 runs. On a rank turner of a pitch, while having to bat on the third and fourth days after the opposition had put up a formidable total of 400, Kohli played a marathon knock to steal victory for India when it seemed that the only possible outcome was a draw.
122 vs England at Pune (2017)
His knock at Pune alongside Kedhar Jadhav was one of the finest fightbacks by the Indian team in recent times. Chasing 350, India were reeling at 63-4 at one stage. This was a knock of two halves though. Kohli played second fiddle to Kedhar Jadhav initially and once the all-rounder departed for a well crafted century, he stepped up his own scoring rate.
This was his 27th ODI hundred and yet another effort that saw him grab the game by the scruff of the neck and pull India to victory in a difficult run chase.
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Ten months and as many innings – that is an aeon for Virat Kohli to go without scoring a century and so a big knock was inevitable when India took on South Africa in the second Test.
In the end, it was only fitting that he got over his “mini blip” in Tests at the venue where he has previously tasted his only defeat at home as skipper.
Virat Kohli’s seventh Test double ton oozed class in every aspect with his marathon knock filled with sparkling straight drives, trademark cover drives and rasping pull shots. The India skipper reached his 26th ton with a gentle nudge down the ground off Vernon Philander and his muted celebration clearly signalled his intentions to make it a big one.
He became the fourth quickest to score 26 Test hundreds and is only behind Don Bradman, Steve Smith and Sachin Tendulkar in that regard. He also equalled Ricky Ponting’s record for the most number of centuries as a Test captain (19). Only South Africa’s Graeme Smith has more with 25 centuries.
After the lunch break on Day Two, runs continued to flow from the Indian captain’s bat as he dug into a demoralised South African bowling attack.
There was a brief period where he did have some lapses in concentration but fortune favoured Kohli as he raced to 150 with a hat-trick of boundaries to third man, nicking left-armed spinner Keshav Maharaj agonisingly past the first-slip fielder on each occasion.
That streaky phase of play saw Kohli also set the record for the most number of 150-plus scores by any Test skipper in history(nine).
With the team placed well, the 29-year-old began to push for quick runs alongside Ravindra Jadeja and in the third over of the final session of the day, he notched his seventh double ton of his career.
As he scampered across for a double to bring up his 200, he also reached 7000 Test runs, going past Bradman’s aggregate in the process.
He is now the first Indian to score seven double hundreds and has overtaken the great Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag (six each). Shortly after raising his bat for the third time in celebration, Kohli was snaffled at slip off the bowling of Senuran Muthusamy. However, the left-arm spinner overstepped and that afforded Kohli the opportunity to reach his highest ever Test score – 254*.
The most remarkable stat of all from Kohli’s recrord-breaking spree at Pune is that he has now beaten his own highest score 15 times in his Test career.
That is the sort of record that seems more suited to a No11 batsman who hardly gets to bat. It is definitely easier for bowlers to better their previous best scores given the limited time they usually spend at the crease, with even a few runs here and there making a world of difference.
But, for a top-order batsman who amasses runs at the rate the Indian skipper does, that is quite astounding. Don Kohli indeed.
South Africa’s Keshav Maharaj battled through pain and held back from hitting out as he resisted India’s drive for a decisive win in the second Test on Saturday.
The tourists were eventually dismissed for 275, 127 runs away from avoiding the follow-on, but Maharaj earned praise for his courageous stand with Vernon Philander that held up India’s march towards a victory that would seal the three match series.
Maharaj, who made 72 with an injured shoulder, and Philander, unbeaten on 44, put on 109 for the ninth wicket to frustrate the Indian bowlers for 43.1 overs in Pune.
“It’s (shoulder) very sore. Yesterday I dived on it so lot of bruising. But hopefully I’ll be fine for the rest of the series,” Maharaj, primarily a left-arm spinner, said.
“Vernon and I said to ourselves that we’ll just get through to tea and see after that. Being a lower order batsman your fingers do itch to play a big shot but Vernon kept me in a good mind space.
“After a few pulls I felt normal (in the shoulder). It’s better to be positive, because if you go into your shell a ball with your name will come along sooner or later.”
Ravichandran Ashwin broke the stand by taking number 10 Maharaj in the final overs and then claimed last man Kagiso Rabada, for two, to wrap up the innings with figures of 4-69.
India, who scored 601-5 declared, have until the start of play on Sunday to decide whether to enforce the follow-on. South Africa still trail India by 326 runs.
The Proteas, who resumed on 36-3, slipped to 162-8 after skipper Faf du Plessis fell for 64 to Ashwin’s off spin.
Maharaj, who injured his shoulder while fielding on Friday and went off the pitch for scans, came out to join Philander to make a last stand.
Maharaj passed his previous Test best of 45 with a boundary off Ashwin and completed his fifty to an ovation from the crowd.
“I wanted to stay outside off stump to spin, I tried to stay leg side of the ball for (Ravindra) Jadeja,” said Maharaj, who claimed his 100th Test wicket in the Indian innings.
“We saw (Mohammed) Shami got the ball to reverse, and the wicket is deteriorating, but the longer you bat, the easier it is.”
Philander, a pace-bowling all-rounder, also played a patient innings. He stayed on for 192 balls before running out of partners.
Fast bowler Mohammed Shami struck early to remove nightwatchman Anrich Nortje for three when he edged a delivery to Virat Kohli at fourth slip.
Theunis de Bruyn was caught behind off Yadav for 30 as the tourists slipped to 53 for five. Wicketkeeper-batsman Quinton de Kock put on a 75-run fourth wicket stand with du Plessis to offer some resistance before Ashwin’s off spin bowled him for 31.
Kohli hit a career-best 254 not out to surpass Don Bradman’s Test tally of 6,996 runs on Friday as India tightened the screws on the tourists.
A victory for India, already one up in the three Tests, will see them beat the record of 10 straight home series wins they share with Australia.