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Rediff.com  » Cricket » PHOTOS: Gritty Kohli hits century to lead India's fightback

PHOTOS: Gritty Kohli hits century to lead India's fightback

Last updated on: August 02, 2018 23:50 IST

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli celebrates after completing his century. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

Virat Kohli took a giant stride towards exorcising the ghosts of 2014 with a masterful century as he single-handedly pulled India out of the woods against England on an eventful second day of the first Test, in Birmingham, on Thursday.

Kohli's splendid innings 149, which will rank amongst one of the finest hundreds by an Indian batsman on English soil, enabled the visitors to reach 274 thereby bringing down the first innings deficit to only 13 runs. England were earlier bowled out for 287 in their first innings.

 

Interestingly, Kohli's 149 in a single innings is 15 runs more than his aggregate of 134 runs in 10 knocks during the disastrous tour of 2014.

At stumps, England were nine for one in their second innings with an overall lead of 22 runs, after Ravichandran Ashwin once again dismissed Alastair Cook early.

IMAGE: KL Rahul is bowled by England fast bowler Sam Curran. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

The day certainly belonged to Kohli, whose dogged determination for a course correction was evident during an innings where he scored more than fifty percent of his team's runs even as he was booed by England fans for his version of 'mic drop' celebrations on the first day.

Kohli got a couple of reprieves early in his innings after Dawide Malan dropped him twice in the slips. He battled it out early on against the fast bowlers under overcast conditions against an incisive Sam Curran, who picked up four for 74, while James Anderson (2/41) and the relentless Ben Stokes (2/73) also tested him quite a lot.

Virat Kohli

IMAGE: Virat Kohli hits a boundary during Day 2. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images

His 22nd Test hundred was laced with 22 boundaries and a six and the unbridled joy on competing the coveted hundred was palpable as he let out a wild roar and kissed his wedding ring, pointing it in the direction of his wife Anushka, who was present in the stands at Edgbaston.

Kohli's innings is worth its weight in gold simply because of the situation the team was in. Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay (20) did the hardwork of seeing off the new ball with a 50-run stand but it all went awry after that.

Curran used conditions to good effect as he trapped Vijay leg before wicket before KL Rahul (4) played a reckless shot to drag it back on to his stumps and then Dhawan edged one to the slip cordon.

IMAGE: Sam Curran appeals for the wicket of Murali Vijay, who was ruled out after a DRS review. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty Images
 
Just as the partnership was starting to look ominous, left-arm swing bowler Sam Curran dismissed Pandya with a brilliant yorker.

The visitors suffered some early blows in their reply to England's modest first innings total of 287.

After the Indian openers chalked up a half century partnership, the visitors were rocked by three swift strikes by the 20-year-old Curran who is playing in his only second Test.

IMAGE: England's players appeal successfully for the wicket of Hardik Pandya. Photograph: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

Ajinkya Rahane (15) and Dinesh Karthik (0) joined the procession to make it 100 for five before Hardik Pandya (22) steadied the ship somewhat adding 48 runs for the sixth wicket with his skipper Kohli.

But the most effective support came from the last two batsmen. Ishant Sharma (5) added 35 with Kohli, while Umesh Yadav (1) blocked 15 deliveries during his 47-run stand for the last wicket.

Finally, Kohli was the last man out trying to cut Adil Rashid as he got a standing ovation from the crowd.

In the morning, Curran had taken three wickets in the space of eight balls to reduce India to 76 for three at lunch.

Vijay was solid as usual, leaving the ball well, while Dhawan looked to play down the ground. It helped that Anderson and Broad bowled fuller early in their spells and didn't get the ball to move around as much as the Indian pacers did on day one.

The openers saw off the initial overs before they flourished quite well to bring up India's 50 off just 70 balls before the drama began.

Curran hit the perfect length as first-change bowler and immediately trapped Vijay leg before wicket in the 14th over. Umpire Aleem Dar turned it down, but DRS overturned the decision as England finally got their breakthrough.

IMAGE: Ravichandran Ashwin, left, celebrates with Virat Kohli after dismissing Alastair Cook. Photograph: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

It became 54 for two three balls later as No. 3 KL Rahul (4) played a loose shot and diverted a thick inside edge onto his stumps. It brought out Kohli who was booed as he made his way out to the crease.

Curran made it a quick triple blow as he got Dhawan caught at second slip in the 16th over.

Things could have been worse as three balls later, Kohli, who was yet to scored, edged Anderson to Jos Buttler at gully but the fielder failed to latch onto a tough low catch despite putting in a fine dive.

Anderson improved his length and troubled Kohli for the next two overs, before Rashid brought things to a close in this session.

This was after India quickly wrapped up the English innings, who lost their last seven wickets for a mere 71 runs.

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