Flamboyant batsman Virat Kohli's life as India's No. 4 batsman in the longer format of the game was off to a promising start as he brought up his fifth Test century in the third session of Day One of the first Test between India and South Africa at Johannesburg on Wednesday, becoming the eighth Indian to score a ton in the rainbow nation and third at the Wanderers. This is Kohli's second hundred in 2013, with his previous one coming against Australia in Chennai in February. (Scorecard | Highlights)
Kohli surpassed his previous best of 116 against Australia at Adelaide but was dismissed in the final session for a well-made 119 by Jacques Kallis. His knock laid the foundation for India to finish the first day of the opening Test on 255 for five. (Virat Kohli promised me a century: Coach)
India were in dire straits at 24 for two, when Kohli walked out to the middle at the batting position that belonged to the recently-retired batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar for the last two decades. Having scored just 31 runs in the two One-Day Internationals versus South Africa, pressure was mounting on Kohli's shoulders as an entire nation prepared itself to see a new face walking out at the fall of the second wicket (Murali Vijay).
In such circumstances, coming out and facing a fiery Dale Steyn and an accurate Morne Morkel was not going to be easy. Kohli did well to play by the merit of the ball early in his innings. After getting out to rash shots in coloured clothing, Kohli seemed to have learnt from his mistakes and let quite a few deliveries go and showed a great amount of patience. With Cheteshwar Pujara, he helped India recover from the early jolts, taking the team to lunch at 70 for two. (Can Kohli fill Sachin Tendulkar's big boots?)
In the post-lunch session, Kohli walked out with renewed confidence. The duo brought up its 50-run stand for the third wicket and a few strokes began to flow from Kohli's willow. He brought up his 50 with a boundary through deep mid-wicket off leg-spinner Imran Tahir. The milestone allowed him to express himself better and he grew from strength to strength. Despite a mix-up leading to Pujara's wicket, Kohli was undeterred and went on to score a ton. His stroke-filled century was laced with 18 boundaries. (Day 1 in pics)
This knock from Kohli is reminiscent of what he did against Australia in the Adelaide Test in 2012. In that game, he batted way down the order at No. 6, but did well to slowly build his innings and shift gears at the right moment. Here too at the Wanderers, after reading the pace and bounce early on, Kohli was able to dominate the South African bowlers. (Day 1 report)