What's the story?
By now, everyone who at least knows that Indian Cricket exists is aware of how Captain Virat Kohli has played a significant and singlehanded role as India officially stayed alive in the first Specsavers Test match against England at Edgbaston. Kohli scored a brilliant 149, which is more than half of India's overall total of 274, as they tried to chase England's first innings score of 287. The innings has received high praise, and among those in the cricketing fraternity to note the importance of the effort, was former England captain Michael Vaughan.
In case you didn't know...
After dismantling the England batting lineup for 287, India came in to bat and had a good start, cruising to 50 without loss. Then came Sam Curran, the young pacer who delivered a triple-setback as India suddenly found themselves reeling at 59/3. Wickets still continued to fall at the other end - Rahane and Karthik fell when the team score was 100, Pandya fell at 148, Ashwin at 169, Shami at 182 and Ishant at 217, but Kohli remained steadfast in the other end, racking up runs whenever he got the opportunity.
In fact, out of the 92 runs that came out of the last two wickets, Ishant scored 5, there were 4 extras and last man Umesh scored 1. The remaining 82 runs came off Kohli, as he brought himself up from 67 not out at the fall of the eighth wicket to an eventual 149. To know how great the innings was, one should know that the next best score came from Shikhar Dhawan and it was just 26.
By the time he got dismissed as the last man in a vain search for the boundary fence, the Indian side was just 17 runs short of England's lead.
Michael Vaughan was all words as spoke with admiration of Kohli at the BBC Test Natch special on Day 2, Thursday, August 2nd.
"The last session was very similar to last night's session where India gave just grabbed 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 (at just 21 runs). It was as easy as they come at second slip," he said. "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," he added.
He went on to opine that Kohli has found confidence through the incredible innings he played, having played it across two halves - one of defiance and the other of aggression. The first half was till India were seven down and his own score was just about 50 runs. When he was left with the tail-enders, the other half began according to Vaughan.
He also said that he knew how there was a bit of danger lurking around even after India being at 169/7, as he witnessed Kohli taking an in-form Sam Curran to the fence repeatedly. "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," he remembered.
Vaughan meanwhile, had no complaints of the hosts' bowling, as it was a classic case of a particular batsman simply rendering every effort as worthless, just like the several times it had happened previously. "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 what you can do as an opponent and when it is his (Kohli's) day, you just need to sit back and admire."
Vaughan also sounded a warning for England, as he felt that with the new-found boost to confidence for the Indian captain, he is more than likely to make it count, and having someone like that leading the opposite side could be an indication of brewing trouble.
"Easily up there with all the best-ever Test innings I've ever seen," he signed off.
England has just resumed their second innings on Day 3, after being held at a precarious position of 9/1 in 3.4 overs at the end of Day 2's play, Ashwin producing the early breakthrough by dismissing Alastair Cook again, with an exact photocopy of the delivery he successfully used against him in the first innings. They now have a lead of 22 runs, with 9 remaining wickets and plenty of play remaining, so hopefully, there will be a result at the end of the game.