Virat Kohli to play his 100th Test match without crowd at Mohali on 04th March 2022 against Sri Lanka.
04th March 2021 will be a red-lettered day in cricket history as one of the biggest poster boys of Test cricket will play his 100th game
When Shane Warne said "Long Live Test Cricket while we have Virat Kohli", we all felt it. We still do.
The 33-year-old, who revamped the vanishing format of the game is going to join the elite club of former India veterans Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Anil Kumble, Kapil Dev, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sourav Ganguly, Ishant Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, and Virender Sehwag this week when he becomes the 11th Indian player to don 100 Test caps. An achievement that very few can claim during their careers.
Going back into the lane and recalling June 20, 2011, Sabina Park, Kingston, when Virat Kohli made his Test debut against the West Indies along with two other debutants – Praveen Kumar and Abhinav Mukund. While two didn't even cross the 10-Match mark in the longest format of the game, Virat Kohli is now on the brink of etching his name in history as he is going to mark his 100th international Test appearance for India in Mohali against Sri Lanka.
His Test debut wasn't up to the mark as he could manage scores of 4 and 15 in that match but what followed after that was baffling. The dominance of a decade saw him establishing himself as one of the all-time greats of the format and game.
In the era of T20, where Chris Gayle was heard saying, "I wouldn't be so sad if Test cricket died out", Virat Kohli's sheer zeal and uninhibited energy on the field worked as the adrenaline for the longest format of the game.
The player who always followed the play-to-win mantra in Test Cricket has scored runs all over the globe & marked his dominance. Now, as we celebrate a milestone - the 100th Test appearance of Virat Kohli for team India – we look at his top five and finest knocks in the longest format, which came in the cruelest, crucial, and demanding conditions.
Virat Kohli 123 vs Australia, Perth 2018
When Virat Kohli says, "Drawing a game for me should be the last option," it didn't seem like an exaggeration. He means every bit of it and his knock of 123 off 257, with 13 fours and a six in the second Test of the series in the 2018-’19 tour of Australia could be a terrific example of it.
When the Indian cricket team was shaken up against one of the best bowling attacks in the world, it was him who stood as a bulwark. The former Indian captain stood tall and delivered the best knock of the series as if defeat or draw was never an option.
After winning the opener in Adelaide, India looked in huge trouble in the second Test after Australia posted 326 runs. India had lost both of their openers with just 8 runs on the board. The opposition had an attack, which comprised Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins, and Nathan Lyon, enough to torment any batting lineup in the world.
But Kohli, once again had other plans as he went on to add 123 runs on the board. He remained on the crease long enough to engage in partnerships with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane and helped India post a respectable total of 283 runs. Although India lost the match by 146 runs, it was Virat Kohli, who showed the team there's always hope, one just needs forbearance and determination.
Virat Kohli 149 vs England, Birmingham 2018
It will remain one of the most celebrated knocks of the former India captain for fans. For the player himself, it is his second favorite knock after the Adelaide century.
Kohli had a disastrous 2014 series in England as he had scored just 134 runs in the overall series at a poor average of 13.40. Returning after four years in 2018, Kohli had a job to finish as India faced England in the first Test of the five-match series at Edgbaston, Birmingham.
On day two of the Test, the flamboyant batter, with a 149-run knock went past that combined total with just one inning to help India survive in the game.
After opting to bat first, the hosts posted 287 runs on the board. Kohli once again stepped up for the team when all other batters failed to cross even the 30-run mark and helped India stay in the contest. However, in the end, the visitors suffered a 31-run defeat.
Virat Kohli 235 vs England, Mumbai 2016
England’s tour of India in 2016 is often mentioned for Virat Kohli's batting heroics throughout the series more than the hosts' emphatic 4-0 victory in the Test series.
Kohli’s highest score in that series came in the fourth Test, where he smashed 235 runs off 340 deliveries to bring England down to their knees in Mumbai. And the fact that 106 of those runs came off boundaries, shows how ravaging this batter could be, irrespective of the format he plays.
England had James Anderson, Chris Woakes, Jake Ball, Ben Stokes, Moeen Ali, and Adil Rashid in their bowling arsenal but none of them could manage to trouble the right-hander.
Virat Kohli 141 vs Australia, Adelaide 2014
Virat Kohli was leading India in Tests for the first time in the absence of an injured MS Dhoni in the first of a four-match Test series in Adelaide in 2014. Though India lost the first Test by 48 runs, it was Virat Kohli's fightback that made the contest special. He scored a century in both innings (115 & 141) of the game but failed to take India home after none of the batters supported him from the other end.
Kohli once recalled this loss and termed it as an important milestone in India's journey to becoming a successful Test team.
"Throwback to this very special and important test in our journey as the test team that we are today. Adelaide 2014 was a game filled with emotion on both sides and an amazing one for people to watch too," wrote Kohli in his throwback post.
"Although we didn't cross the line being so close, it taught us that anything is possible if we put our mind to it because we committed to doing something which seemed very difficult, to begin with, but almost pulled it off. All of us are committed to it. This will always remain a very important milestone in our journey as a test side," he added.
Virat Kohli 119 vs South Africa, Johannesburg 2013
Virat Kohli was in outstanding form during India's tour of South Africa in 2013. Opting to bat first, India was in all sorts of trouble after South Africa removed Indian openers Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay with just 24 runs on the board.
Then came Virat Kohli, the lone warrior, or rather the believer, who believed. He scored 119 in the first innings and followed it up with 96 in the 2nd innings. He fiercely handled the bowling attack that consisted of Vernon Philander, Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Imran Tahir, and Jacques Kallis at the Wanderers.
His knock eventually helped the visitors avoid the 1st innings collapse as they pulled out a draw.
Now after 99 Tests, when we look back at Kohli's legacy, we realize how he embedded a life into the longest format of the game, which is being overshadowed by the fast-paced T20 format, which brands itself as the shortest and most appealing to the cricket viewers. In the age of the modern era where white-ball cricket has seemingly taken over as the most accepting format, Kohli ensured the continual value and interest with red-ball cricket with his invaluable contribution and mastery insight. It is not just Indian cricket that has benefitted to have Virat Kohli, it's the Test Cricket that shall remain indebted to the modern-day greats like him.
Whenever one will turn the pages of Test Cricket, the name of the modern-day great Virat Kohli would be inscribed for his invaluable contributions to the most reverent format of the game.