Kohli breaks century drought to put India in driving seat

Kohli breaks century drought to put India in driving seat

Virat Kohli ended his agonizing three-year wait for a three-figure score in Test cricket on day four in Ahmedabad, posting a hard-fought 186 to put India in a strong position in the fourth Test. Batting alongside KS Bharat and Axar Patel, who blazed his way to 79, Kohli powered India to a score of 571 for nine to give the Men in Blue a 91-run first-innings lead.

Resuming the day on 289 for three, it was another session of attrition in the morning as only 73 runs and five boundaries were scored. Virat Kohli and the Indian batters were hardly troubled in defence, but the tight lines employed by Nathan Lyon and Todd Murphy ensured that the runs came at a premium.

Ravindra Jadeja fell while looking to take the aerial route in the opening hour, picking out Usman Khawaja at mid-off for 28, and KS Bharat earned a promotion to number six with Shreyas Iyer unable to bat due to lower back pain. The keeper showed some early positive intent by slog-sweeping Lyon for six, but retreated into his shell in the lead-up to Lunch, scoring just 25 off his first 70 deliveries.

Bharat was tested by a short ball barrage from Cameron Green after the break, and the keeper was up to the task, hooking the seamer for two sixes and a four in a 21-run over. Bharat’s vigil ended six runs short of a 50, but Virat Kohli motored on in the second session to reach his long-awaited milestone. Kohli brought up his 28th Test ton with a flick into the leg-side, ending a 1205-day wait for a three-figure score in whites.

Kohli shifted through the gears after getting the monkey off his back, unfurling his full range of strokes against pace and spin. The number four drove Mitchell Starc down the ground and found the gaps against spinners through the leg-side to increase the scoring rate. Kohli was given good company by Axar Patel, who continued his fine batting form in the series and took the aerial route on many occasions against the spinners.

Kohli and Axar took India into the lead in the final session of the day and added 162 runs to put the hosts into the driving seat before the left-hander fell for 79 against Mitchell Starc. Kohli kept the runs flowing as he neared a double century, but kept running out of partners before perishing himself by holing out in the deep for 186.

With Usman Khawaja injuring his knee in the field, Australia sent Matthew Kuhnemann alongside Travis Head to survive the tricky six-over period before stumps. The night-watchman was dropped by KS Bharat after misreading an Ashwin carrom ball but managed to see out the session to set up an intriguing final day of the series.