LIVE UPDATES: DAY 4
Kohli was 59 not out when he came out to resume his innings on Sunday at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad. By the time the players left the field for lunch, Kohli had added only 29 to his score in the session to be 88 not out.
CENTURY for @imVkohli He’s battled the heat out here and comes on top with a fine 💯, his 28th in Test cricket.… https://t.co/AC7oAIJAdu
— BCCI (@BCCI) 1678605497000
It was uncharacteristic of Kohli, who usually approaches the game aggressively, but the master batter had gauged the situation after losing Ravindra Jadeja (28) early on the fourth morning, and the news on Shreyas Iyer was that he was taken for scans to get his back pain diagnosed.
Wicketkeeper KS Bharat came out to join Kohli in India’s pursuit of taking a lead, and he got busy right from the start to reach 25 not out.
But India, 362/4 at lunch on Sunday, were still behind by 118 runs.
Stand-in skipper Steve Smith’s tactics dried up the boundaries for India and made run-making difficult, which meant that the Virat-Bharat duo had to buckle down and bide their time. But it was a tricky situation for them as India needed to up the scoring rate to go into the lead quickly besides preserving wickets, with just a day left in the match after Sunday.
What a pic – Steve Smith appreciating Virat Kohli. https://t.co/idEsbj5Wkt
— Johns. (@CricCrazyJohns) 1678605670000
The urgency showed in Bharat’s changed approach soon after the lunch break, as he hit Cameron Green for two consecutive sixes, followed by a four off a no-ball in the same over, to swing the momentum in India’s favour. The over produced 21 runs, the most expensive of the series.
Kohli, meanwhile, dealt in singles to move into the 90s; but before he could get to his hundred, the former India captain lost partner Bharat, who was dismissed by Nathan Lyon for 44, caught by Peter Handscomb at short-leg. The fifth-wicket partnership produced 84 runs.
The injured Shreyas, however, still wasn’t available and left-hander Axar Patel came out to join Kohli in the middle.
Kohli’s patient Test century finally arrived off the 241st ball he faced. A wristy drive to deep mid-wicket off Lyon for a single.
Virat Kohli scores a Test hundred for the first time in over three years 🎉#WTC23 | #INDvAUS | 📝… https://t.co/eshJcl1rKN
— ICC (@ICC) 1678605543000
The fact that those 241 balls Kohli faced included just five sent past the boundary ropes for fours reflects the picture of focus and determination that Kohli painted during this special knock.
And this one will remain extra special for Kohli personally, as it took over three years since his 27th century in Test cricket.
This is also Kohli’s eighth hundred in Tests against Australia. Sachin Tendulkar (11) has scored the most Test centuries by an Indian against Australia, followed by Sunil Gavaskar, who is joined now by Kohli at 8 each.
The four-match series currently stands 2-1 in favour of India, who will retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy by virtue of being the current holders. But the hosts are desperate for a win, as only that will earn them a spot in the WTC final against Australia.