Virat Kohli cantered to his maiden double century in Tests as India cruised to 404 for 4 at lunch on day two of the series opener against the West Indies in North Sound, Antigua, on Friday.
Kohli (200* off 281 balls), resuming at an overnight 143, reached the milestone at the stroke of lunch and was ably supported by Ravichandran Ashwin (64*).
The duo batted the entire session, extending their fifth wicket stand to 168 runs as the West Indies failed to pick up a wicket in 29 overs.
The double century was also first for Kohli at the First Class level with his previous highest being 197.
India had started off the day at their overnight score of 302/4, with the two batsmen looking to bat as long as possible. And it was obvious from their watchful demeanour, as the West Indies had opted for the new ball straightaway.
Shannon Gabriel (1-56) and Jason Holder (0-83) then started off the proceedings, as on day one, but the pitch seemed to have eased out considerably as compared to the first morning.
Gabriel though was still impressive, and worked up his pace every over. He troubled Ashwin and got him driving, inducing a couple edges that fell short of the slip cordon. Then he induced another edge in the 98th over of the innings – and the 8th of the morning – only for keeper Shane Dowrich to put down a regulation chance. Ashwin was on 43* at that time.
Meanwhile, Kohli continued his march without any discomfort. First up, he crossed the 150-mark off 208 balls as the 100-partnership came up in the 96th over. Then he went past his previous Test highest score of 169 scored against Australia at the MCG in December 2014.
The duo had scored at a good rate and the first hour of play resulted in 50 runs. There was a short spell when Devendra Bishoo (3-131) was introduced into the attack, wherein the runs calmed down. But as soon as the two batsmen got accustomed to his spin again, the scoring rate went up once again.
Ashwin made good of the life given to him and reached his seventh Test fifty off 127 balls. In doing so, he helped India past the 400-mark in the 118th over and indeed brought up the 150-partnership with Kohli off 272 balls. The West Indies were looking lethargic in the field as the partnership sucked out all energy, even as the wait was now for Kohli’s impending milestone.
And he didn’t disappoint, getting there just before lunch, in the 119th over. Kohli played Roston Chase (0-57) for a simple single to midwicket and became the first Indian skipper to score a Test doubled hundred overseas since 1932 -- beating Mohammad Azharduddin’s long-standing record of 192 against New Zealand scored in February 1990.
On day one, Shikhar Dhawan scored 84 runs and put on 105 runs with Kohli to help India past the 300-mark after they won the toss and elected to bat.