Virat Kohli scores a magnificent century for India against England at Edgbaston

Virat Kohli celebrates reaching three figures
Virat Kohli celebrates reaching three figures

Virat Kohli scored a hundred of rare quality on the second day of the first Specsavers Test Match at Edgbaston to give India a real chance of victory.


Richard Mann

Virat Kohli's epic 149 from 225 balls dragged his side back into a match that looked to be slipping away from India's grasp when they were reduced to 100-5 and then 182-8 by England's impressive seam attack.

India would have arrived at Edgbaston on the second morning with spirits high in their camp having fought back manfully on day one to see England close on 285-9, though the hosts would only add two more to their overnight score before Sam Curran became Mohammed Shami's third wicket of the innings.

The visitors would have been further encouraged by the positive start they made with the bat as Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan took India to 50 without loss before Curran ripped the game open with an incisive spell of left-arm inswing bowling

Vijay (20), who had earlier survived a close LBW shout against the impressive James Anderson, was pinned plump in front by Curran who then induced a loose drive from Lokesh Rahul two balls later to have him bowled via an inside edge for four.

Curran continued to probe away and soon had his third as Dhawan's lack of foot movement caught him out and he was well held at second slip having offered a healthy edge to Dawid Malan.

Sam Curran bowls KL Rahul
Sam Curran bowls KL Rahul

All the while, Kohli was settling into his work as he waited to see the back of James Anderson after an extended new-ball spell.

Anderson wasn't interested, though, and but for a one-over break when Adil Rashid bowled the final over before Lunch, Anderson would deliver a 15-over spell of supreme seam and swing bowling that would test Kohli's technique and resolve to the limit.

At the other end, Ben Stokes had replaced the impressive Curran and began to find some rhythm, causing his Rajasthan Royals teammate Ajinkya Rahane all sorts of problems until he limply edged another outswinger to the cordon on 15.

With Stokes now finding his groove, and some decent pace, he sent a hooping inswinger through the defences of Dinish Karthik who was clean bowled for a duck.

When the Durham all-rounder had an LBW appeal against Hardik Pandya accepted with India barely hovering above 100, England looked set to earn themselves a healthy first innings lead with Stokes looking increasingly dangerous.

However, Pandya's hopeful review saw the decision overturned, giving India, and Kohli, a lifeline.

Stokes continued to pound away and looked somewhere close to his best but in truth, the day was all about Kolhi, and in particular, his battle with Anderson.

Anderson continues to astonish and despite been sidelined for the past few months with a recurrence of an old shoulder injury, the England spearhead displayed remarkable energy to keep coming at Kohli who, for all his brilliance, never looked comfortable against his old foe.

Most of Kolhi's scoring shots against Anderson came via the outside edge and the latter cut a frustrated figure when Malan gave the Indian skipper a reprieve at second slip on 21.

Kohli was also put down by the same fielder on 51 but in conditions which favoured the bowlers all throughout day, he certainly deserved some luck and when Anderson was forced to take a well-earned break - with outstanding figures of 22-7-41-2 - Kohli sensed an opportunity.

With Pandya, Ravi Ashwin and Shami now back in the changing rooms, Kohli produced a masterclass in how to bat with the tail and despite losing Ishant Sharma before reaching his century, was able to eke out another 57 runs for the final wicket, of which Umesh Yadav contributed only one single.

Stokes, Curran and Adil Rashid were all dismissed with contempt and Kohli celebrated passionately when square driving Stokes with precision to the point boundary to reach three figures.

Another sublime 49 runs would follow from his bat and by the time Ashwin had dismissed Cook for the second time in the match, England - who had been in the ascendancy for so much of the day - were only 22 runs ahead with nine wickets in hand.

With three days still to play, the first Test is delicately poised and round two of Kohli v Anderson might well decide its outcome.

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