South Africa's bodyline tactics didn't work against me, says Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli said that he had a plan and was happy to execute it perfectly. He hit 119 off 181 balls with 18 fours.

Updated: December 19, 2013 11:38 IST
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Johannesburg: Virat Kohli stamped his authority with a classy century which he believes was possible as he was promoted up the order enabling him to dictate terms to the opposition. (Day 1 report)

"I have been waiting for this opportunity to bat up the order. It is something that I badly wanted to do in Test cricket, because I am so used to going in at number three in ODIs. I like to be in the action early on, get in while conditions are tough and then dictate terms to the bowling," Kohli, who scored a brilliant 119 in India's 255 for five told the reporters on Wednesday. (Day 1 Pics)

Kohli said that he had a plan and was happy to execute it perfectly. (Kohli shines at number four)

"I had a plan in mind that I wanted to stick to. I wasn't thinking about bowling, conditions or the wicket. I just wanted to execute my plan."

The plan was to counter-attack the bowling and not allow them to pepper the visitors with short-pitched stuff. (Highlights)

"Apparently, I was described as soft after the first ODI. But I always had it in my mind that we will get short bowling, unless you attack. If they are quality bowlers, good enough to play at this level, but so are you," Kohli said with his customary swagger.

"So I was prepared and was watching the ball closely. I got into position early and played some pull strokes, and after that they started bowling at the fifth or sixth stump. So I don't know where their bodyline tactic went," said Kohli.

He termed his partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara as an important one but he had to maintain his focus after the Saurashtra lad got run out.

"We had some mistakes in the day. And then there was the run-out, but obviously incidents do happen in cricket. It was unfortunate that Cheteshwar got run-out.

"It was a good partnership building up, but it was also important for me to carry on at that time. Sometimes it isn't easy to do so in such situations but I maintained my focus. I knew I had to bat on and double my score for the team to be in a strong position," Kohli said.

Kohli said that he had an idea that once Sachin Tendulkar retired, he would get a chance to bat at No 4.

"I knew once Sachin retired, I would get the chance to bat at number four. Like I said, I wanted to bat up the order. It is a big challenge considering that he has done so much for the team at this spot. But I wasn't thinking about it, just wanted to score runs and execute my plans," he said.

Kohli did tour here during IPL-II and also as a part of the ODI team but a Test hundred according to him is an "amazing feeling".

"But it is also about owning a spot, putting a mark on your spot. So getting the hundred was an amazing feeling. I haven't got runs in South Africa, so I wanted to get a Test hundred here."

For Kohli, even when the South Africa series was on, the focus was on scoring a Test hundred.

"It is funny because even in the Australia ODI series or West Indies series after that, I wasn't focussing on those matches. All my training sessions were about scoring a Test hundred here. It is the best I have batted in Test cricket so far," Kohli added.

For Kohli, scoring 255 for five was a satisfying effort considering that team didn't have much training before the Test match.

"If you ask me, after winning the toss, given that we haven’t had much practice, it was very pleasing. We could has asked for one less wicket that would have got us 30 more runs, taking us to 280 for 4. That would have been perfect, but we are very happy with this.

"It is about building tomorrow and hopefully we can get to 350-360 because then South Africa will have to get 500-plus to put pressure on us. But we also need to bowl well," said Kohli, outlining India’s strategy for the remaining four days.

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