‘King Kohli’ gets Test ton after three-year wait

PTI, Mar 12, 2023, 2:52 PM IST

India’s superstar cricketer Virat Kohli hit his first Test century since November 2019, ending his long drought on day four of the fourth Test against Australia on Sunday.

“King Kohli” reached his 28th Test hundred off 241 balls with a single off Nathan Lyon, sparking wild celebrations at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.

Appearing to tear up, he acknowledged the crowd and the dressing room before kissing the locket on his gold chain as he smiled and looked up to the sky.

Commentator Ravi Shastri screamed, “a 600-kilo gorilla is off his back. He will grow a couple of inches taller by this evening”.

A placard in the crowd read “Here to see King Kohli ruling in his kingdom” as children in India shirts bowed in respect.

The star batsman resumed on his overnight score of 59 after he got his first Test half-century since January 2022 on day three on a pitch favouring the batsmen.

Kohli, 34, went through an extended lean patch last year, failing to reach three figures in more than 1,000 days.

He quit as a Twenty20 skipper in late 2021 and in January 2022 was sacked from the one-day captaincy and gave up leading the Test side, too.

But he hit his first ton after 1,020 days in the Asia Cup T20 tournament in September last year and hasn’t looked back since.

Kohli finished the T20 World Cup in Australia as the leading run-scorer and then hit three ODI centuries, including two — 113 and 166 not out — against Sri Lanka in January.

The former captain has a Test average of more than 48 in 108 matches since making his debut in 2011 and has struck 75 centuries across the three international formats.

Kohli remains behind Australia stand-in-skipper Steve Smith and England’s Joe Root in the number of Test centuries between the “fabulous four” — the leading four batsmen of the modern era.

Smith overtook Kohli during the Indian batsman’s lean phase and now has 30 Test centuries since his previous 95th Test. Root has 29.

New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson has 26 Test tons.

Kohli’s previous Test hundred came against Bangladesh in what was the first day-night Test in India.

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