Kohli fills Sachin’s big shoes with ease

2013-12-19 00:00

JOHANNESBURG — Who needs Sachin Tendulkar when you have Virat Kohli?

That is the question cheerful Indian cricket supporters would have asked after Kohli filled the big shoes of Tendulkar with distinction on the first day of the first Test against South Africa at the Wanderers.

The 25-year-old Kohli made the batting position, which Tendulkar occupied for 24 years, his own when he hit his highest score to date (119, 257 minutes, 181 balls, 18x4).

He walked with bat in hand into the bull ring with his team in trouble at 24/2 but as the day went on he slowly put his stamp on the day’s play.

He was the main reason why the Indians, who won the toss and decided to bat, eventually could close off the day with a very deserving 255/5.

It was Kohli’s fifth century in his 21st Test. A lot has been written and spoken about the responsibility that would rest on his shoulders as the new batsman at number four in place of the Little Master.

Yesterday, he showed with almost faultless innings that that position is yet again in safe hands.

While most of his batting partners struggled to get into gear, Kohli batted with great fluency and never looked in trouble.

He was the senior partner in two meaningful partnerships. With Cheteshwar Pujara (25, 148 minutes, 98 balls, 2x4) he accumulated 89 runs for the third wicket, where after he and Ajinkya Rahane (43*, 152 minutes, 105 balls, 7x4) scored 68 for the fifth wicket.

The only blot on his name was the run-out of Pujara. Kohli tapped the ball to the leg-side and immediately started running but then changed his mind and stopped in his tracks.

At that stage Pujara was more than half-way down the pitch and had to make a sudden U-turn.

The combination of Hashim Amla and Imran Tahir, however, caused him to be run out.

Left-hand batsman Shikhar Dhawan (13) was first to go when he could not resist to hook a short delivery from Dale Steyn and he was caught by Tahir on the boundary.

His opening partner Murali Vijay (six) became Morné Morkel’s first victim with the first ball of his third over.

Just before he was out, Vijay was almost caught by Amla close to the wicket. The dropped catch, however, did not cost South Africa any runs.

Tahir did not have a happy day with ball in hand.

His first over shortly before lunch cost 10 runs and he eventually sacrificed 47 in eight unimpressive overs.


India first innings

M Vijay c De Villiers b Morkel6

S Dhawan c Imran Tahir b Steyn. 13

C Pujara run out (Tahir/Amla)25

V Kohli c Duminy b Kallis119

R Sharma c De Villiers b Philander14

A Rahane not out43

MS Dhoni not out17

Extras (lb3, w14, nb1)18

TOTAL (for five wickets in 90 overs)255

Fall of wickets: 1-17 (Dhawan, 8.6ov), 2-24 (Vijay, 15.1), 3-113 (Pujara, 42.4), 4-151 (R Sharma, 53.2), 5-219 (Kohli 75.3)

Bowling: Steyn 23-5-56-1 (2w), Philander 21-2-55-1, Morkel 19-10-27-1 (1nb, 2w), Kallis 14-4-37-1 (2w), Imran Tahir 8-0-47-0, Duminy 5-0-30-0.

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