Virat Kohli’s century drought in Tests continued as he fell 45 in his 100th Test match in Mohali on Day 1 of the first game of the two-match series against Sri Lanka on Friday. In the process, the former India captain also crossed the 8000-run mark in the longest format of the game.
With 50 per cent of spectators allowed in the stadium for Virat Kohli’s 100th Test match, the crowd cheered in unison at Kohli’s every move during the warm-ups. That was followed by Rohit Sharma winning his first toss as Indian captain. He chose to bat first.
At exactly, 11 AM, the 5000-odd people roared in unison as ‘King Kohli’ emerged from the dressing room after opener Mayank Agarwal’s dismissal. India were 80/2 at that time. Along with Hanuma Vihari, who was batting at No.3 for the first time in Tests, Kohli steered the Indian batting with some exquisite shots.
A picture-perfect straight drive off left-arm seamer Vishwa Fernando was soothing for the eyes and a square-cut that beat deep point manned to save boundary was delightful as he reached 8000 Test runs during the course of his 45 off 76 balls that also had four more hits to the fence.
Kohli also became the second in the world after Australian Ricky Ponting to score 8000 Test runs in his 100th game. Ponting achieved the feat against South Africa in 2006 at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
However, he was undone by a Lasith Embuldeniya delivery that pitched on length and turned away to clip the bails of Kohli’s off-stump, leading to a stunned silence. The last time Virat Kohli scored a century in Tests was against Bangladesh in 2019 at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata. He currently has 27 Test tons and 43 centuries in ODIs.
Kohli received a special Test cap from head coach Rahul Dravid to mark the special occasion in the presence of the whole Indian contingent and his wife and actor Anushka Sharma. Kohli’s brother Vikas was also present at the stands.
“It is a special moment for me. My wife is here and so is my brother. All my family members and coach from childhood, all are proud. It is indeed a team game and it couldn't have been possible without you,” Kohli said before the game.
“I still have that picture in my house from under-15 NCA days, where I was looking at you (Dravid) and taking a picture with you and today I get my 100th Test cap from you. So, indeed it's been a great journey and one which hopefully continues to grow.”
“Thanks to BCCI as well for giving me this opportunity to represent the Indian cricket team initially and from there on everything has gone from strength to strength,” Kohli added. BCCI president Sourav Ganguly, secretary Jay Shah, treasurer Arun Dhumal and vice-president Rajiv Shukla were also in attendance.
Kohli would have played his 100th Test match in South Africa in January but had to sit out of the second Test due to a upper-back spasm. He returned to play the third Test in South Africa.