Playing his 100th Test, Kohli got off the mark with a leading edge over cover while trying to play a Lasith Embuldeniya delivery to the leg side. He was eventually castled by the same bowler five short of a fifty.
During a discussion on Star Sports, Gambhir was asked about Kohli's edgy start and the concentration lapse when he seemed set. Gambhir responded:
"At times we are too critical of Virat Kohli because even if he plays one bad shot, we say lapse in concentration. If you talk about the start, every player is nervous, not only Virat; the greatest players in the world are nervous, especially when you are playing your 100th Test."
The former India player pointed out that it was an error in reading the length of the delivery that contributed to Kohli's dismissal. Gambhir explained:
"Here there was a misjudgment of length. The same deliveries he was playing on the front foot before this, and nothing was happening. He played back, the ball spun a little, and he got beaten, but before that, the sort of batting he did, he was in absolute control."
Kohli hit five sumptuous boundaries during his innings. However, just when he seemed set for the long haul, he played back to a full delivery that spun across his blade to hit the off-stump.
"I don't think so" - Gautam Gambhir on whether Virat Kohli was looking to work the ball to the leg side
Gautam Gambhir was also asked if Virat Kohli was trying to work the ball to the on-side. That's because the Sri Lankan captain had positioned two fielders at extra cover. Gambhir replied:
"I don't think so. I feel if you play a full delivery off the back foot, you give that much time for the delivery to spin. When you play the same ball off the front foot, the ball does not get that much chance to turn."
The player-turned-commentator reiterated that it was just a misjudgment of length that led to Kohli's dismissal, elaborating:
"If he had been playing on the leg side, the bat's face might have been more closed. It was not that closed here. If you see the ball, it pitched on the middle stump, and hit the edge of the off-stump, so it did not turn that much. So it was just a misjudgment of length; he should have played this ball off the front foot."
Virat Kohli might get another chance to end his three-figure drought in India's second innings. He will hope to accomplish that to get the monkey off the back.
Poll : Will Virat Kohli score a century in the second innings?