5 Moments That Made Virat Kohli A Legend Of Test Cricket

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Former India captain Virat Kohli is set to become only the 12th Indian and 71st player overall to play in 100 Tests when he takes the field at the Punjab Cricket Association IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali, on Friday against Sri Lanka.

Virat Kohli had made his Test debut in 2011, three years after his ODI debut, and soon became the mainstay in the batting line-up with the exit of other greats, including taking the number 4 position following Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement.

As Virat Kohli approaches this historic milestone, we look at 5 moments from his Test career that has shaped him to be the Test cricketer that he is today.

5 Moments That Made Virat Kohli A Legend Of Test Cricket

Maiden ton in Australia

Amid a disastrous tour of Australia for India in 2011/12, a young, brash Virat Kohli that was taking on the attack to the Aussie bowlers – as well as the crowd flipping a finger- returned as the only Indian batsman to score a century on that tour – a dazzling 116-run knock in Adelaide in the fourth Test, which came after he had top-scored for India in each of the innings in the third Test in Perth. He would go on to slam four more hundreds in Adelaide making him his hunting ground.

Given the Test captaincy mid-tour

Between that 2011/12 tour to Australia and the next trip to the country in 2014/15, Kohli cemented his place in the side, and was looked upon as Dhoni’s successor; he led heroically and boldly in the first Test in Adelaide when MS Dhoni was injured.

That opportunity came when he didn’t really expect it when Dhoni decided to retire mid-series with one more Test to go. Virat Kohli took over in the fourth Test and thudded 147 runs, announcing his and the Indian team’s era.

March to the top

Reaching the number one ranking is tough; maintaining your position there is tougher. Kohli’s legacy as a Test cricketer, irrespective of what happens ow going forward, will be defined by the incredible success he helped India attain in Test cricket.

Picking up the side from number 7, Kohli propelled them into world-beaters, ruling the Test ranking for the better part from 2016 to 2022.

Kohli’s peak

5 Moments That Made Virat Kohli A Legend Of Test Cricket
Image source: The Cricketer

The Virat Kohli peak from 2016 to the end of 2019 was just unreal. The amount of runs he scored across formats was staggering.

In Tests alone, only Joe Root scored more runs than Kohli in this four-year period (34 more runs in 29 more innings) and only Steven Smith (68.73) averaged more than Kohli’s 66.79. Kohli’s 16 centuries – six of them away – was three more than the next best. All of his 7 Test double hundreds came in that peak period; he became the first batter to register double hundreds in four successive series.

This is just aside from his dominance in white-ball cricket: between this four-year phase, he averaged 80 in ODIs and 59 in T20Is, along with 5 tons in the IPL. The stuff of dreams.

Developing a fast-bowling cartel

Virat Kohli and Shastri had identified that they needed a strong bowling attack to take 20 wickets to win Tests overseas. With Bumrah as the spearhead, India developed what is without a doubt their strongest ever a fast-bowling group that had Bhuvneshwar, Ishant, Umesh, Shami, and Siraj with Saini, Shardul, and even T Natarajan making a mark in the Brisbane Test.

There are more and more fast bowlers coming up and India have now grown an unprecedented depth in their pace attack.

Follow the best coverage of Virat Kohli’s 100th Test on The Cricket Lounge.