India v England, 4th Test, Nagpur, 3rd day December 15, 2012

Kohli's coming of age

ESPNcricinfo presents the plays of the day from the third day in Nagpur

Milestone of the day
Virat Kohli richly deserved his third Test century. The deathly slow pitch and some tight bowling forced him to work hard for his runs but he retained his concentration and discipline to help his side retain their hopes of levelling the series. His previous Test centuries had taken 199 balls (against Australia) and 187 balls (against New Zealand), but here he was forced to work for 289 balls before reaching three figures.

His top score in the series before this innings was 20 as England worked on his impatience, tied him down and waited. While Kohli might have succumbed to temptation in the other games, here he demonstrated his growing maturity to play just the sort of innings his side required.

Near miss of the day
Can a player ever have missed out on a Test century by a smaller margin than MS Dhoni? Having been stuck in the 90s for 17 overs having lost most of the strike - he faced only 30 deliveries in that period - Dhoni finally pushed the ball to mid-off and embarked on a very tight single. A direct hit from Alastair Cook and Dhoni's failure to fully run his bat in meant that he was run-out by the narrowest margin: it took TV replays from three different angles before there was conclusive evidence that Dhoni was a centimetre or so out of his ground. While missing out on the personal milestone would have been a disappointment, Dhoni need not have worried.

His stand with Kohli - worth 198 - had brought India right back into the game and renewed their hopes of squaring this series. Such issues are far more important that personal milestones. But bearing in mind the pressure that Dhoni and his team were under at the start of play, it is just possible that this might prove to be a career-saving performance.

Damning stat of the day
Tim Bresnan has now bowled 448 deliveries since his last Test wicket. It was August 2 when Graeme Smith turned a leg stump half volley to square leg and since then Bresnan has gone wicketless in four innings to take his bowling average in 2012 to 55.43. Nor can he claim his batting is justifying selection: in eight Tests this year he has contributed 120 runs with a highest score of 39 not out and an average of 17.14.

Chance of the day
It says much for the discipline of the batsmen and the lack of threat in the bowling that ball barely beat bat throughout the day. The closest England came to a wicket in the first two sessions was when Dhoni was on 72. Twice Bresnan was convinced he had trapped his man lbw with deliveries that nipped back, though replays suggested the umpire, Rod Tucker, was quite right to conclude they were slipping down the leg side. But Dhoni did survive a mishit on the same score when he pushed the ball back to Bresnan but the bowler was unable to cling on to a desperately difficult, low chance.

Ominous sign of the day?
For large parts of the third day, England's bowlers found nothing in this slow surface. Despite signs that it was beginning to turn on the second evening, the pitch seemed to have grown even slower on the third day and offered little to batsmen or bowlers. But, from the final delivery, Graeme Swann drew Piyush Chawla forward and turned one just enough to beat the outside edge and strike off stump. It would be wrong to read too much into the dismissal of a lower-order batsman but was a wicket that may just have caused the spinners of both sides to sit up and take notice with two days still to play.

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sharon on December 16, 2012, 19:54 GMT

    @jg2704. Hello mate. Look nobody dispute Kohli quality with the blade. Problem for me is attitude. Take today for example he is involved in the Trott issue - he go up to batsman and he remonstrate. He carry on and on. These guy are supposed to be ambassadors of our fine sport and look what he do.... Putting up mid-digit, etc. Then he is talking of England 2011 " green top" on a tour he wasn't even involved with! Then during India v England ODI series he is constantly in face of England player bad mouthing and making extreme performance. This is simply unacceptable behaviour. And yet incredibly the India follower come on here on speak of bad behaviour of England player!!! They completely ignore Kohli and his antic. I personally have no time for anyone like that who so frequently show bad spirit. We should condemn this.

  • vishwas on December 16, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    i think for the person named VACANT SLIP , maturity means claiming the catch even though the fielder knows he dint caught it(trot in 1st match)

    one should see maturity in playing not the way u behave, in tat matter virat is more matured than many england batsmen and england have many unmature players ( behaviorly) . example tat i can give is peterson who just got kicked out from team, and rejoined team because they needed his mature batting.

    just dont be jealous of the man who is leading run scorer in 2012 combining all formats of game.....tats virat

  • John on December 16, 2012, 6:35 GMT

    @A_Vacant_Slip on (December 15 2012, 23:20 PM GMT) Come on man , that was a hugely mature inns by both men. I know some of the comments from some Indian fans have riled us and Kohli has said/done some silly things in the past but please - credit where it's due

  • Dummy4 on December 16, 2012, 6:07 GMT

    @Lillan and Jimbond: You both are spot on. We Indians are always hero worshiping and by doing so forget the cause which in this case in winning the match. Lets see if our four spinners (I have carefully avoided the term spin quartet, because the prassanas, bedis, chandras, venkis will sue me) can do something.

  • James on December 16, 2012, 2:56 GMT

    George is trying to fuel Indians' latent desire to Hero Worship, now that one God has fallen away, and another about to lose his captaincy, they need another. Kohli has peformed well in India in ODIs, but in terms of talent he would be more or less similar to people like Rohit Sharma, Rayudu, Pujara, and maybe a few others in India, and a a few score players internationally. But for sycophants, it is always great to raise one over the others so that one can fawn over them. A bit of talent, but neither the maturity nor the attitude. It will be a long time before he really comes of age.

  • Nish on December 16, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Comparing the celebrations of Joe Root vs Virat Kohli on reaching an individual milestone- tells the entire story

  • Nish on December 16, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Kohli and Dhoni did all the hard work, but stumbled on either side of a personal landmark - disappointed

  • Nish on December 16, 2012, 2:54 GMT

    Could not agree more with you --- LillianThomson

    The job is not done at reaching 50 or 100 or 150, the job begins once you break-even the first innings that sense there is little to celebrate and talk about

  • a on December 16, 2012, 1:50 GMT

    India should declare right away and take the initiative.

  • Tahir on December 16, 2012, 1:50 GMT

    Kohli did well but the pitch denatured both swann and panesar whose agressive deliveries were too good for Indian batsmen. Hats off to swann that he still was able to trouble batsmen while his opposite number could not make any impression. From here India should be able to draw the game otherwise they are not competitive at the test level. England need just three bowlers to dismiss india so fourth can be anyone be it Bresnan, Broad etc.

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