Visakhapatnam | Skipper Virat Kohli batted like a man possessed, slamming an unbeaten 151 in company of another centurion Cheteshwar Pujara to steer India to a commendable 317 for four against England on the first day of the second cricket Test here.
In his 50th Test, Kohli led from the front by striking a classy 14th hundred and also added 226 runs for the third wicket with Pujara (119), who has now reached three-figure mark in his last three matches.
Incidentally, this was Pujara’s 10th Test hundred. The duo made the English bowlers toil hard on an unresponsive pitch after Murali Vijay (20) and KL Rahul (0) were dismissed cheaply with the scoreboard reading 22.
Kohli mixed caution with aggression during his undefeated stay at the wicket in which he hit 15 boundaries and two sixes. His was a marathon near six-hour stay at the wicket (five hours and 52 minutes)
He also claimed moral victory over his old nemesis Jimmy Anderson (3/44), who was the best English bowler on view.
Anderson did try his variations but Kohli remained unruffled for the better part of his innings save once when on 56, his mistimed pull shot off Ben Stokes was dropped by Adil Rasheed at deep fine leg boundary.
At the other end, continuing his purple patch after he was dropped from the second Test at St Lucia in West Indies, Pujara hit a strokeful 119 off 204 balls that was laced with 12 boundaries and two sixes.
Batting in tandem, Kohli brought up his century with a cover drive after Pujara reached his milestone with a six.
This time, after scoring his second ton against England, he just lifted his bat, acknowledged the crowd and went about the task to grind the visitors down.
The determination and the coming-of-age of Kohli was quite evident. Ditto when he got to his 150 as he half-raised his bat to acknowledge the cheers.
It was a tough day for the English bowling attack and quite arduous for Anderson, who is recovering from a shoulder injury.
At stumps, Ravichandran Ashwin was in company of his skipper and India’s healthy 3.5 run-rate would also be a cause of concern for the Englishmen.
Kohli’s legend at Vizag also reached enormous proportions today as he struck his third international century from four ODIs and one Test as his scores before this match at the venue were 118, 117, 99, 65 (in ODIs).
He also became the sixth Indian to score a century in his 50th Test.