On the eve of the third and final Test in Indore, India captain Virat Kohli was asked a question in presser about the number of centuries scored in this series. Before Saturday, no batsmen were able to score a ton. Kohli credited the bowlers for that. Good bowling and tough conditions were the reasons cited by the India skipper. On Saturday, conditions were tricky if not tough. The pitch was showing signs of the difficult conditions the batsmen are going to face as the Test progresses. New Zealand bowlers used the conditions and had India three down at the score of 100.
Kohli was on the other end when Cheteshwar Pujara fell to Mitchell Santner. The spinner angled one into the the right-hander and it straightened enough to uproot Pujara’s off-stump. In came Ajinkya Rahane who was troubled by short balls from New Zealand pacers. Kohli was watching all the drama from the other end.
But none of that could trouble him as he became the first batsman to score a century in this series. Shedding his free-scoring game, Kohli left most of the balls outside-off balls, left most of the short balls and apart from the close run-out call on his single to complete his century, it was a chance-less innings. On a historic day for Indore on which the city hosted its first ever Test match, Kohli gave the 19, 000 crowd another reason to not forget the day.
After reaching the landmark, he gestured towards the dressing room, mimicking someone from the staff who helped him with throw downs at nets. No wild celebrations this time. His 13th Test ton was 11 innings after his double hundred in West Indies. He ended his home century drought as well. (Kohli scored a century at home was back in 2013 against Australia)
Just hours after a question about players not scoring hundred in this series, the right-hander becomes the first. He was supported by Rahane, who battled the early short stuff and his trouble with the same and struggled to 79*, taking the burden off Kohli’s shoulders.
Before Rahane’s half-century, 16 half-centuries had been scored and Pujara’s 86 was the highest score. But not anymore as the Delhi batsman came out with an intent. A “today is my day” look on Kohli’s face cannot be ignored. If he has the same look on Sunday, and Rahane continues his hard work like on Saturday, New Zealand may not be able to avoid a whitewash.