Virat Kohli scores first Test hundred of 2019

India captain Virat Kohli scored his first Test hundred of the year — against South Africa in the second Test in Pune — after a 10-inning drought.

India captain Virat Kohli in action at the second Test against South Africa in Pune on Friday.   -  VIVEK BENDRE

 

Statistics matter very little for Virat Kohli. The India captain doesn't keep a track of his personal milestones. In his long and illustrious international career — which is in the eleventh year now — all Kohli has cared for, is scoring runs and guiding his team to victory.

It was no different when he scored yet another century at the Maharashtra Cricket Association Stadium on Friday — his 26th in Tests and first this year.

As the fans cheered, Kohli just raised his bat, hugged non-striking partner, Ajinkya Rahane, and went about his business. There was no celebration. No fist thumping; but just a mere acknowledgement that another ton got added to his kitty. And that’s quintessential Kohli for you.

“The focus is to win as many Test matches as possible. Just win every game that we can. Stats and numbers have never mattered to me. They don’t,” Kohli had said ahead of the second Test.

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And on field, he remained true to his words.

When he walked in to bat on Thursday afternoon, the side looked well settled by then, with Mayank Agarwal inching closer to his second Test century. Kohli took time, allowed his young team-mate to reach his century, and ensured there was no slip-up.

Playing in his 50th Test match as captain, Kohli relied on his natural game and went past yet another half century, before the stumps were drawn early due to bad light.  

And as he took fresh guard on Friday morning, he took the shine off the cherry quite early along with Rahane. After the overnight rains, there were speculations that the wicket might aid the batsmen a bit but Kohli hung in there and put the Proteas bowlers to task.

He also equalled former Australia captain Ricky Ponting in the number of centuries (19) as Test captain.

Kohli, who hit his overall 26th hundred during the second Test against South Africa, is on par with Ponting, while former South Africa captain Graeme Smith leads the list with 25 tons to his credit

India came into the fixture with a 100 per cent winning record at the ICC World Test Championships. Kohli knew that it won’t be easy to score on a track which remained a mystery even on the eve of the match.

“It’s not easy to play Test matches in home conditions when its challenging. The ball is spinning, we have also found it difficult in the past but we are a team that looks for answers and not excuses so may be that’s the reason we keep on improving.” Kohli said.

And this habit of ‘searching for answers’ has not only helped the side grow, but has also allowed its captain to display smart and fearless cricket.