What happened the last time Virat Kohli played for India on his birthday?

Virat Kohli (L) and a birthday poster for him in Mohali in 2015.
Virat Kohli (L) and a birthday poster for him in Mohali in 2015.

Indian top-order maestro Virat Kohli will celebrate his 35th birthday in front of around 70,000 people at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 5 as India take on South Africa in a high-octane clash in the 2023 World Cup.

In his 12-year-journey as an Indian player, Kohli has gone through 111 Tests, 288 ODIs and 115 T20Is and this is the third time he'll play an international match on his birthday. It'll also be the first time he'll play an ODI on November 5.

The last time he played for India on this date was in the 2021 T20 World Cup in Australia in a league match against Scotland.

India bowled first in that match and bowled Scotland out for just 85, courtesy of three-wicket hauls from Mohammed Shami and Ravindra Jadeja. KL Rahul and Rohit Sharma killed the chase early with a couple of brisk knocks.

Kohli came to bat in the sixth over when India needed just 16 runs to win. He faced two balls, scored as many runs and then saw Suryakumar Yadav finish things off at the other end. This was his second-last match as India's T20I captain. India won the next match against Namibia, too, but failed to qualify for the semi-finals.

Virat Kohli's first match on his birthday was a coincidence basket

The first occasion also came against South Africa. In 2015, the Proteas toured India for an all-format series. The first Test was played from November 5-9 at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium in Mohali.

India batted first and lost Shikhar Dhawan in the second over. Cheteshwar Pujara then fell in the 22nd over, allowing Kohli's entry. The right-hander took a single in that over against Dean Elgar's spin and then faced fast-bowler Kagiso Rabada, who was playing his first Test, on the other end.

The right-hander kept out a couple of full balls (the second was a no-ball) before Rabada pulled his length back on the third. Kohli tried to flick it but was early on the shot and got a leading edge towards covers where Elgar dived in and took an excellent catch to give the pacer his first Test wicket.

Rabada and Kohli would go on to have a brilliant rivalry in Test cricket and all of it started with a maiden wicket on a birthday! If that's not enough coincidence for the day, it was also the Indian's first Test as captain at home.

India scored just 201 in the first innings but thanks to the sharp-turning track, it was the highest team total in the match. Jadeja, Ravichandran Ashwin and Amit Mishra picked up all 10 wickets to bowl South Africa out for 184.

India replied by scoring 200 again. This time the skipper got 29 (71), getting out against a part-time bowler for that match, medium pacer Stiaan van Zyl, edging a drive to the keeper. South Africa were then bowled out for 109 to concede a 108-run loss.

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