Kohli and Dhoni lift India at Nagpur
Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni wore out the English bowlers on Day 3 of the fourth Test against England at the VCA Stadium in Jamtha, Nagpur on Saturday.
England had scraped their way to 330 earlier in the game, helped by half centuries from Kevin Pietersen (73), debutant Joe Root (73), Matt Prior (57) and Graeme Swann (56). Piyush Chawla (4/69), Ishant Sharma (3/49), debutant Ravindra Jadeja (2/58) and R Ashwin (1/66) were the wicket takers for India, Pragyan Ojha (0/71) suffering a rare failure.
James Anderson bowled superbly, making good use of the conditions to reduce India to 87/4 by Stumps on Day 2. He bowled Virender Sehwag (0) and Sachin Tendulkar (2) and had Gautam Gambhir (37) caught behind while Graeme Swann got a lucky decision to dismiss Cheteshwar Pujara (26).
Kohli and Dhoni resumed their 16 run partnership on Day 3. In a display of judicious batting that India sorely needed, the duo eschewed their attacking styles of play, grinding the runs out. The highlights of their partnership were the deft placements and running between the wickets to keep the English fielders busy and the scorecard kept ticking over. When possible the batsmen played aerial shots but were otherwise restrained in playing big shots.
The 50, 100 and 150 run milestones for the 5th wicket partnership came off 170b, 316b and 396b respectively, the batsmen upping the rate as the day progressed.
For the first time in the series the Indians played out two consecutive sessions without losing a wicket. Kohli played the longest innings of his career, surpassing the 213 ball 116 he made against Australia in Adelaide earlier this year. He brought his 100 up off 289 deliveries but fell right after a drinks break in the third session, LBW to Swann.
That ended the 198 run partnership with Dhoni, India’s first 150+ stand for any wicket since the Kolkata Test against West Indies in 2011.
Ravindra Jadeja made 12 on his Test debut before he was LBW to Anderson. MS Dhoni had been stranded in the 90s since the 113th over and was on 99* from overs 125 to 129 when Ashwin was suffocated by the field. Dhoni pushed the first ball he faced after that break to mid off and set off for a madcap single. He had to run around James Anderson and was caught just short of the crease by a direct hit from Alastair Cook, run out for 99 (246b, 4x8, 6x1).
Swann bowled Chawla off the first ball of the next over, signaling Stumps on Day 3 for India at 297/8, trailing England by 33 runs yet.
Kohli’s knock took him to 2091 runs across all formats in International cricket in 2012, ahead of Michael Clarke’s 2088. It was also his 8th international 100 of the year, the most by anyone in 2012.