Bhubaneswar: Cricket aficionados and the fans of Virat Kohli had been waiting with bated breath since Friday morning. They had to… after all it was Virat Kohli’s 100th Test match. When Virat Kohli took the field against Sri Lanka in the first of three-Test series at the Punjab Cricket Stadium in Mohali, he became the 12the Indian cricketer to achieve such a distinction. To be a part of the historical event, wife and actress Anushka Sharma was also present.
It was apparent the way Virat walked in at the fall of Mayank Agarwal’s wicket, that the former Indian captain was aiming something special. Nervous to start with, Virat got into groove after playing a straight drive, the trademark shot that marks his game. Slowly the shots started flowing as the roars of ‘Virat, Virat’ grew from the stands.
Virat looked set for a big score, but suddenly the anti-climax happened. It is not for nothing that cricket is a game of glorious uncertainties. Left-arm spinner Lasith Embuldeniya, who till then looked innocuous, suddenly got one delivery to turn sharply and clip the outside bottom of the off-stump. With it vanished Kohli’s dreams of a century in his 100th Test.
A brief look of despair at the stumps and the pitch portrayed Kohli’s emotions. He started the long trudge back to the pavilion. When he had reached 38, he became the sixth Indian batter to score 8,000 or more runs in Test cricket. Closest to him now are Virender Sehwag (8,503) and VVS Laxman (8,781). There can be no doubt that Virat will go past their tally in the near future. Virat’s current tally is 8,007 and so it is a significant number to him till he adds to it.
Friday was the 832nd day in succession when Virat remained without a three-figure innings. The last time he got a century was November 23, 2019 at the Eden Gardens. Since then the former India captain has played 62 international matches and scored 2,442 runs, but the three-figure mark has remained elusive.
Virat is certain to overtake both Sehwag and Laxman in total tally of Test runs. However, if he has go past the other three – Sunil Gavaskar (10,122), Rahul Dravid (13,265) and Sachin Tendulkar (15,921) – Virat will have to score centuries on a consistent basis. Without hundreds and big hundreds at that, he will not be able to go past the other three.
Harsh it may sound, but then it is the hard fact of life.