Virat Kohli singlehandedly helped India stay in the contest against England in the first Test at Edgbaston, believes Michael Vaughan. Kohli scored 149 to take India to 274 in response to 287 from England. This was Kohli’s first Test century on the English soil after he managed just 134 runs in the 2014 tour.
To put Kohli’s fight into perspective, the next best score came from Shikhar Dhawan and it was just 26. The India captain was dropped as well during his innings and Vaughan stressed Dawid Malan will be disappointed with his efforts.
“The last session was very similar to last night’s session where India gave just grab the game back through brilliance from Kohli. That one person I know in the England dressing room (who’ll be disappointed) is Dawid Malan, who dropped Virat Kohli. It was as easy as they come at second slip,” Vaughan told BBC Test Match Special on Thursday (August 2).
“Whatever happens in this game they’ve allowed Virat Kohli to go on and get 149. He’s got 15 more in this innings than he got throughout the whole tour last time he was here in 2014.”
Vaughan said that the innings of Kohli was a story of two halves – defiance and aggression. The first half stretched till India were seven down and it was a different story once he was left with the tail-enders. The former opener did not hold back while acknowledging the ton.
“Virat has found confidence. It was an incredible innings. He probably realised when the seventh wicket fell, every time he goes out to bat, that the shoulders of the whole team is with him. The way he manoeuvred the ball into the gaps, the way that he played at the swinging ball, he hung in there, hung in there and got about 57,” the former England captain said.
“His body language just changed, he knows that he has to try and hit the boundary. He hit the ball through mid-wicket off Sam Curran that raced to the boundary and took him into the 60s and I thought ‘wait a minute, there’s a bit of a danger here’. If one of the tail-enders can hang around, you know there’s going to be an issue.”
Vaughan also felt England cannot be blamed much for their tactics while the batting maestro was shredding them apart. Kohli just rendered the bowlers hapless and helpless. He rated this as one of the best knocks because of the context and the manner in which it was brought up.
“Wonderful batting. Tactically, you look at England and people will say ‘why didn’t they spread the field’. It’s so difficult as a captain to know what to do. Do you go short, do you go wide? And if you bring the field up, he could hit more boundaries,” Vaughan pointed out. “A doff of the hat is sometimes that you can do as an opponent and when it is his (Kohli’s) day, you just need to sit back and admire.
“Sometimes you just have to respect that someone’s played incredibly, It’s right up there with one of the best Test match innings that you can see, because of the context of the game. You look at the next highest scorer for India, it’s 26 and he’s gone and got 149. 92 for the last two wickets in which [Ishant] Sharma and [Umesh Yadav] contributed six. So that tells you pretty much everything.”
Vaughan also sounded warning bells for England and felt Kohli, with the early confidence gained in the series, is more than likely to make it count. He also stressed that a player like him likes challenges and the booing response that he got while walking out might work against England.
“It’s a five-match series and Virat has got off to a flier, a flier with 149. Great players, once they get into a rhythm, once they get into form and once they get into confidence, they’re sometimes very difficult to stop. Great players love the stage and he went out there today, the crowd booed him. He’s great because he looks around goes ‘alright then, you boo me I’ll hang around and make your team spend a bit more time in the field.”
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