Kohli's bat, tongue lash Aussies

Kohli's bat, tongue lash Aussies

The youngest and the least celebrated of India’s famed batting line-up, Virat Kohli,
announced his arrival on the Test stage in stunning fashion at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

Kohli during his century knock at Adelaide on Thursday. AP

One of the few positives to have emerged from a tour of unmitigated disaster, the 23-year-old from Delhi became India’s first centurion in this series, producing a champagne knock on the third day of the final Test, as acknowledged virtuosos tumbled around him.

A veteran of 74 one-day internationals that have netted him eight centuries, Kohli brought up his maiden Test hundred on a blistering day, battling not just a hostile Australian attack unafraid to use the lip liberally, but also another abject surrender that threatened to leave the young man stranded in the 90s.

At a time when the men who uncomplainingly carried the Indian batting on their broad shoulders for more than a decade and a half have found the going terribly difficult, Kohli’s
success must come as welcome relief for a team wondering who will step into the giant shoes of Dravid, Tendulkar and Laxman in time to come.

Kohli had already served notice of his Test credentials with half-centuries in both innings of his comeback match in Mumbai against the West Indies in November, though doubts continued to linger over how well he would do away from home.

Successive failures in Melbourne and Sydney threatened to scuttle his fledgling Test career, but the team management kept faith in him and Kohli responded with knocks of 44 and 75 in the Perth Test. He, however, needed to take that giant step towards three figures to convince himself, as much as anyone else, that he belonged at this level, which is why Thursday’s effort will be worth a lot more than 116, a knock that also made him India’s leading scorer this series.

India are still way behind the eight-ball, conceding a mammoth 332-run deficit after being shot out for 272, but Kohli’s remarkable exhibition of excellent technique, tremendous situational awareness and ability to keep his focus despite being subjected to sustained verbal warfare should provide some succour to a beleaguered camp. The path ahead will not be a bed of roses, but Kohli has shown he can tackle the thorns. With aplomb.