Morning, Alex Broun here with everything you need to know this Friday.
Love him or hate him its hard to ignore Virat Kohli.
The Indian captain has dominated proceedings on the first two days of the opening Test between India and England at Edgbaston in Birmingham.
From his mimicking of Joe Root’s “mic-drop” celebration on Wednesday to his magnificent match-saving 149 on Thursday the spotlight has been exactly where Kohli wants it to be – firmly trained on him.
For a full rundown on events in Edgbaston click HERE.
With rumours floating around that the 32-year-old Croatian is being tempted away from the Santiago Bernabéu by ambitious Inter Milan, Perez has responded by slapping a €750 million. (Dh3.2bn) price tag on his head.
To read more from the animated Sr. Perez click HERE.
Virat Kohli‘s brilliant century certainly grabbed the headlines on Thursday but in all the Kohli-mania the contribution of young England seamer Sam Curran should not be forgotten.
The twenty-year-old took three wickets in eight balls at one stage on his way to figures of 74 for 4 on the day, to easily be the pick of England’s bowler.
To read Curran’s thoughts on the day click HERE.
FEATURE OF THE DAY
What do you get the man who has everything?
Legendary New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady turns 41 today and Sport 360’s resident US sports guru Jay Asser got a little creative and came up with 10 novel gift ideas for the great man.
Check them out HERE.
SOCIAL MEDIA ROUND-UP
.@imVkohli in Test cricket:— Circle of Cricket (@circleofcricket) August 2, 2018
Hundred in India: ✔️
Hundred in Australia: ✔️
Hundred in New Zealand: ✔️
Hundred in Sri Lanka: ✔️
Hundred in South Africa: ✔️
Hundred in West Indies: ✔️
Hundred in England: ✔️
KING KOHLI FOR A REASON #ENGvIND pic.twitter.com/PqXHmJ3Cat
GUESS THE THUMBNAIL SAYS IT ALL and I'll get you there inside a minute. Gonna be a belter in CChurch. #SuperRugby #cruvlio @foxrugbylive @sumostevenson @crusadersrugby @lionsrugbyco @RugbyDump pic.twitter.com/ASzA6C6TXO— Sean Maloney (@seanny202) August 3, 2018
I'm sorry...— NBC Sports Soccer (@NBCSportsSoccer) August 2, 2018
HOW MUCH did you say this Real Madrid player is worth??? $870 million??? At 32 years old??? https://t.co/SXEUTskZWL
WHAT’S ON TODAY
England v India (14:00)
Wallabies vs Australian Super Rugby XV (12:45)
Virat Kohli didn’t have to wait long to silence his critics as the Indian captain scored his maiden Test hundred in England.
A lot of build-up to the five-match Test series was on how the 29-year-old would fare following a disappointing tour in 2014 where he averaged 13.40 in five Tests. But he made an instant impact, scoring 149 off 225 deliveries including 22 fours as India reached 274 in reply to England’s 287 on Thursday.
It was a masterclass of an innings from one of cricket’s icons although he was lucky to reach triple figures after being dropped twice on 21 and 51 by Dawid Malan at Edgbaston.
Here, we analyse his performance from the second day in Birmingham.
Before a ball was even bowled, plenty of focus was on Virat Kohli’s battle with James Anderson, who, after dismissing him four times in 2014, upped the ante in the war of words earlier this week. But on Thursday, Kohli let his bat do the talking in style and showed why he is the second best batsman in the Test rankings. The Indian captain might have been fortunate to be dropped twice on 21 and 51 by Dawid Malan but played a superb knock to get his milestone and most importantly saw India close in on England’s first inning score.
Most consecutive conversions from 90s to 100 in Tests for India— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) August 2, 2018
17 Virat Kohli (2014-2018)*
16 Sunil Gavaskar (1978-1983)
14 Azharuddin (1984-1994)#NervesOfSteel
Came to the crease with the scoreboard reading at 54-2 and led by example as he bossed the innings. Had a plan to deal with the bowling threat of Anderson as well as Ben Stokes, Sam Curran and Stuart Broad as he got big strides forward to counter any swing that came his way. Was given two lifelines when dropped by Malan but that did not allow him to lose his focus and kept the scoreboard ticking even when wickets were falling.
With a score of 149, there’s not much that can be faulted of Kohli’s innings. The only blip came when he was dropped twice but he made sure there was no third chance as he went from strength to strength.
VERDICT – 9 out of 10
Kohli showed once again why he is the best batsman in the world with a sensational innings. Although he was unable to remain unbeaten, the standing ovation he received from the Edgbaston crowd when he was dismissed spoke volumes how special his knock was. It could have been so different had Malan got one of those catches but the captain has put his side in a strong position in the Test match. This knock should give him a lot of confidence going forward for the rest of the series.
Virat Kohli will continue to shut out the commentary and trust his instincts and self-belief as he tries to make a success of his Test summer in England.
The India captain endured a miserable trip on his previous attempt in 2014, averaging a paltry 13.4 compared to his world-class career output of exactly 40 runs more per innings.
Back, in charge this time of the world’s number one team, he is determined to stick to the lessons he has learned over the years – to waste no energy reading what others think he should do, and instead make sure he is mentally ready to give his best.
“Back in the day, when I did not know better, these things used to bother me – because I used to read a lot,” said the 29-year-old.
“But honestly… I genuinely don’t read anything … I have no idea what’s going on.
“If I waste my energy on all these things, I’m compromising on my mindset already – because when I walk out to bat, I have the bat in hand, not people who sit on the outside who write and predict things.”
Kohli’s rematch with England’s all-time leading wicket-taker James Anderson is keenly-awaited, and will doubtless have a key impact on the five-match series set to begin at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Asked about how he will approach that challenge, Kohli preferred to answer more generally – whichever bowler he is facing.
“It’s pretty simple,” he said. “You follow your instinct; you have to have total confidence and belief in your own ability.
“That’s something that gives you total clarity when you head out to bat. I’m not saying that it happens every time – but the fact that we’re able to do it again and again is the reason we’re playing at this level.
“It’s something we need to keep working hard on and not take for granted … it boils down to belief.”
The same, he believes, is true collectively – and he preaches to his team what he practises personally.
“We’re all in a good frame of mind, batsmen and bowlers are confident – we are all excited,” he said.
“This is a five-match series and not a two or three-match series – where if things go wrong in one match, desperation sinks in.
“In such a long series, you can be patient enough to turn things around. From that point of view, all of us are relaxed.”
He is convinced too that India have the ability to win in England for the first time since 2007.
“Our bowling attack has matured over the years,” said Kohli.
“They’ve gained experience of playing all around the world and understanding conditions, pitches – and opposition batsmen as well. They have come a long way from the last time we toured all these countries.
“We are a more confident unit now. We have to the skill sets, character and mental toughness required to compete and win in overseas conditions.”