Virat Kohli justifies Test return with 50
Virat Kohli, the dashing Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman justified his inclusion in the Indian Test side ahead of World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh by scoring 52 in India‚Äôs first innings at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai against the West Indies.
India were in danger of falling short of the follow on mark of 391 in their first innings reply to WI‚Äôs first innings total of 690 before Kohli‚Äôs 52 and his 97 run partnership with R Ashwin saw India comfortably cross that mark.
Resuming play on Day 4 at 281/3, India had suffered three quick setbacks to lose VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni early, sliding to 331/6. Kohli was on 13 when Sachin Tendulkar was dismissed and had added just 1 run to his tally when Dhoni departed 6 overs later but the youngster did not panic.
Batting with Ashwin, who is among the handier lower order bats on the domestic circuit, Virat set about taking India past the follow on mark of 391 and erase as much deficit as possible. Kohli, who won the Ceat International Youngster of the Year award earlier on Sunday struck just 5 fours in his knock but was aggressive in his placements and running.
While Ashwin took the big chances, Kohli had been busy rotating the strike and accumulating runs, bringing up his maiden Test 50 off 105 balls. However his attempt to accelerate which followed failed as he hit a harmless straight and full offering from Bishoo straight to mid on. India‚Äôs score was 428 when Kohli departed but the tail provided enough support for R Ashwin to reach his maiden Test century and India were eventually being bowled out for 482 handing WI a 108 run first innings lead.
In a match which has seen a record number of 50+ scores in the first innings from both sides (11, 6 from WI including Darren Bravo‚Äôs 166 and 5 from India including R Ashwin‚Äôs 103), Kohli will be disappointed that at having added just another 50. His knock today carries greater weight than that, a reaffirmation for the selectors who dropped Yuvraj Singh from the squad for the third Test and Suresh Raina altogether. With today‚Äôs knock, Kohli has sealed the debate about India‚Äôs no. 6 for Australia for now.