On his first-ever international, Indian skipper Virat Kohli was handed a rather difficult task: to lead India in a Test match. However, Kohli rose to the occasion and performed brilliantly, highlighting his captaincy skills with bat and ball. He scored 146 runs off 276 balls with three boundaries and six sixes. It was an innings that will be remembered for many years in future. India were in trouble at 117 for 8 when Kohlin came out to field. The team had lost seven wickets for just 80 runs after the first session of play on the second day. The situation looks grim for them but their skipper came out to bat at number eight position.
In fact, it was his first-ever Test match as well as his debut in any format for India! And he ended up scoring a century in his very first game for his country. His batting partner, KL Rahul, also contributed some runs toward India’s cause before being run out after being given out leg before wicket by wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant on 170th over of play on the second day of the Test match. Following an excellent opening partnership, M Vijay and Upender Yadav took charge of India innings and put pressure back on bowlers of England by adding 87 runs between them before lunch break. The pair added another 69 runs between them after lunch break to take India’s score past 300 just before tea time which they continued till stumps on day two of the Test
Why does India need Kohli as skipper?
In the last two years, the Indian team has not performed well in Tests. Their last series win in Tests was in the 2015-16 tour of Australia. Since then, they have not been able to defeat any of the Test playing nations. Their last series win was against West Indies in the 2017-18 tour of the subcontinent. They lost the series 2-1 against that side. India also had poor performances against England and Sri Lanka in their recent tours. In the absence of a strong leader, the team has been in shambles.
There have been controversies and confusion within the team unit. The recent examples are the ban by the BCCI for skipper Rohit Sharma for a few months for showing dissent against the umpires and the confusion over the return of Yuvraj Singh to the team after his ban period was over. Amid all this, Virat Kohli, who is also the captain of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League (IPL), has come under a lot of criticism. There have more instances where cricketers have troll for their poor performances in the IPL. They have aske to focus on the Indian team and the Tests. Kohli, on the other hand, has praise a lot for his excellent performances in the IPL. He is know as a ‘T20 superstar’ who can score runs at will in the shortest format of the game. But, recently, there have questions raise over his performances in the longest version of the game.
Vijay and Upender give 100% to take India past 300
After Kohli came out at number eight and M Vijay at number five, India rotated the position of the openers. And in came the left-hander Upender at number four. This was a change in the team’s batting line-up as the openers were M Vijay and KL Rahul at the first and second position in the batting order in their previous game. This time, India started their innings at 409 for 8 after losing all their wicket to the spin duo of Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali on day one.
They were in big trouble at 119 for 6 after the first session of play on the second day. Their skipper, Virat Kohli, and M Vijay were out trying to add runs in the first over of the day after tea time. And, when Upender came out to bat, he added some calmness and maturity to the Indian batting line-up with his innings of 100 runs off 167 balls with six boundaries. This helped India get past the 300-run mark before stumps on day two of the Test match.
Murali, Pant and Bhuvnesh back-up the bowlers
On day two of the Test, India rotated their bowlers to give rest to their main fast bowlers. India’s spinners, Ravichandran Kallis and Bhuvneshwar Kumar, were rotate with the offspinners who were also give some rest. Kallis and Bhuvneshwar bowled two overs each between them while the rest of the spinners, Kuldeep Yadav, Ravindra Jadeja, and Pant, bowled three each. There was a lot of pressure on their batting line-up as they were playing the second day of the Test match. Murali took two wickets while Pant and Bhuvneshwar one each in the second innings of play. It helped the Indian team a lot in terms of bowling analysis, helping them in their chase.
Wrapping up: Why was India’s batting performance on day 2 so crucial?
When India were playing their first Test match in South Africa, the Indian team management had a plan to get their first Test win in South Africa. They had made it a point for the Indian batsmen to score big runs and do not let their opponents get out cheaply. And that was exactly what MS Dhoni had advised the team’s batsmen to do. He had told them that they should not be afraid of the bowlers and should play their shots. On day two of the Test,
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the Indian batting line-up did exactly what the Indian team management had asked them to do. They were fearless while playing their shots. They did not care about their wicket falling as they used to. Their only aim was to score big runs and get a win for the country. Throughout the day, they did not look at the scoreboard. They were only focuse on their runs and making the team proud.
It is not easy to score a century in your first Test match but this is what skipper Virat Kohli did. He showed lot of maturity while batting and used the conditions to their advantage. He finished the day with a single shot. The innings lasted for almost five hours and by the end he was on 96. In short, he raised the bar for himself and for the rest he said that if he plays for his country then he does not think about any other format. Now, it is up to him to keep up the good work for the team.