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Virat Kohli cracks century as India fight hard to reach 255/5

Wednesday, 18 December 2013 - 10:06pm IST | Place: Johannesburg | Agency: PTI
His shot selection was admirable as he was ready to leave a lot of deliveries but didn't forget to punish the loose balls.

Virat Kohli gave ample display of his class by cracking a fluent 119 as a gritty India produced a decent batting show on the opening day to leave the first cricket Test against South Africa evenly poised here today.

The 25-year-old Kohli, batting at the coveted number 4 position left vacant by retired batting icon Sachin Tendulkar, notched up his fifth Test century to steer the visitors to a comfortable 255 for five at close on a bouncy Wanderers track.

Ajinkya Rahane (43 batting) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17 batting) were at the crease on an eventful opening day which saw the beleaguered Indian batting line-up giving a good account of themselves despite their only warm-up game being abandoned due to a wet outfield.

Kohli stole the thunder on the first day as he displayed wonderful counter-attacking ability with dazzling array of strokes all round the wicket after openers Shikhar Dhawan (13) and Murali Vijay (6) were dismissed cheaply by Dale Steyn (1/56) and Morne Morkel (1/27) within 15.1 overs.

Kohli, India's premier batsman, hit 18 sweetly timed boundaries in his 181-ball knock with the standout shot being a pull off the fast and furious Steyn. He played some flowing drives, played the square cut well and was severe on leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who was repeatedly pulled towards the deep mid-wicket boundary.

His shot selection was admirable as he was ready to leave a lot of deliveries but didn't forget to punish the loose balls.

Kohli reached his fifth Test hundred when he played off-break bowler Jean-Paul Duminy's delivery towards mid-wicket for a couple before celebrating the milestone with a leap and punch of his fists in the air.

As he took charge of taking on the Proteas attack, he was well complemented by Cheteshwar Pujara (25) during their 89-run third wicket stand before he was unfortunately run-out due to a horrible mix-up.

Rahane, playing only his second Test, also showed good temperament during their fifth-wicket stand of 68 runs as the young Mumbai batsman grew in confidence with passage of time.

Kohli was finally out giving a catch to Duminy at covers off Kallis' bowling. Each bowler of the South African pace quartet got a wicket each.


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