NAGPUR: Indian skipper Virat Kohli scored his fifth double century in Tests and has also broken the record for most centuries in a year by a captain during the second Test against Sri Lanka.
The 29-year-old has now joined Brian Lara, one of the greatest batsmen of all time, with the most number of double tons (5) as a Test captain.
Kohli's century brings him his fourth against Sri Lanka and his tenth in internationals in this year.
The swashbuckling batsman now has the same number of Test 100s as former West Indies cricketer Clive Lloyd, Australia’s Mark Taylor and Michael Hussey, Barbadian cricketer Gordon Greenidgea and Len Hutton of England.
Kohli, the run machine, has also surpassed Sunil Gavaskar’s record of most centuries as an Indian skipper.
He has also outclassed Australia’s Ricky Ponting (9 in 2005 and 2006) and South Africa’s Graeme Smith (9 in 2005) for the most centuries by a captain in a calendar year.
The second Test was heading towards the inevitable. After amassing 610/6 declared which gave them a whopping lead of 405 runs, India left Sri Lanka gasping for breath at 21/1 at stumps on Day 3.
Considering the way the visitors have done on this trip so far, only the brave in their ranks would think of taking this match to the last day.
On a day of landmarks and milestones, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma became the third and fourth batsmen to score centuries in the innings, following Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara a day earlier.
It was the third time that Indians achieved this, after against Bangladesh in 2007 and South Africa in 2010.
In all, Test cricket has now seen 20 occasions when four from a team scored hundreds in the same innings. There are two instances where five got to three figures.
Virat Kohli led the run feast with a fifth double century. Cheteshwar Pujara looked good for a fourth before getting bowled on 148, but Rohit Sharma made most of the opportunity to record a third Test century, four years after scoring two in his first two Tests. It was a completely dominating performance, with the bowlers and fielders clueless about what to do.
Sri Lanka’s faint hopes of salvaging this suffered a blow in the second ball of the innings when Ishant Sharma clean bowled Sadeera Samarawickrama. With bowlers fresh after a night of rest, expect India to go for the kill with lots of men around the bat on Monday.
The pitch was far from difficult, but morale after taken a beating, it will take a huge effort for Sri Lanka to do anything noteworthy.
Given the quality of bowling at Sri Lanka’s disposal, it can’t be said that Kohli’s task was very challenging. But he still showed enough hunger and killer instinct to first tame and then dominate an attack that was trying to be economical.
With Kohli scoring at a fast clip, Pujara was content doing what he does best. Playing the role of anchor, he was focused on a big one before playing over a straight ball that hit the stumps. His 143 came off 362 deliveries with 14 fours.
The stage was set for Ajinkya Rahane to exploit a demoralised attack, but he hit a long hop straight to point after making just two. This brought in Rohit, who played a delectable cover drive for first four balls. Playing a Test after October 2016, the Mumbai man was determined to capitalise on the chance and he did that well in a fifth-wicket stand of 173 with Kohli.
Driving beautifully and lifting the ball with effortless grace, he remained not out on 102 that came off 162 balls, hitting a six and eight fours.
Brief scores at Stumps, Day 3:
Sri Lanka 205 and 21/1, India 610/6 declared (Kohli 213, Pujara 143, Vijay 128, Rohit 102 not out, Perera 3/202)
(With inputs from AFP and ANI)