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Virat Kohli leads by example in tricky conditions at Eden Gardens

India Today logo India Today 03-10-2016
© AP Photo

India Test captain Virat Kohli gave all the fans present at the Eden Gardens a glimpse of his class when he came out to bat at a difficult time in the second Test against New Zealand on Sunday.

India, after bowling out New Zealand for 204 in the first session on Day 3, came out with the intent of stretching their first innings lead of 112 runs. But superb bowling spells from the Black Caps pacers, led by Matt Henry, along with a lot of help from a difficult pitch helped reduce India to 46/4 at one stage.

The hosts were being undone by the pace of Henry, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner and the uneven bounce of the Eden track. That's when Kohli joined the action in the middle and lead the way for his troops with a gutsy knock.

The 27-year-old, who has been struggling for runs on home soil, weathered the storm at first and then took on the bowlers to score 45 runs off 65 balls which included 7 boundaries. At a time when all the other batsmen were struggling, Kohli batted with a positive intent and along with Rohit Sharma, added 48 crucial runs for the fifth wicket in a span of just 11 overs at a healthy run rate of 4.43 and bailed his team out of trouble.

KOHLI INSPIRES TEAMMATES

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Kohli's style of play and his mindset rubbed off on Rohit as well, who then took over the scoring duties once his skipper got out in the most unfortunate way. Kohli got a skidder from Boult which kept really low and hit him just above his left boot. Kohli crouched down on his knees and looked absolutely distraught as the umpire raised his finger.

He was looking good for a big score and was showing signs of returning to form, but got out completely against the run of play. More than Boult's delivery it was the pitch which claimed the wicket of one of India's best batsman against fast bowling.

Rohit, who has been struggling to get runs and has drawn the ire of critics and fans alike for his poor show, then put his hand up and played one of the grittier knocks to help set up an improbably target for New Zealand to chase.

Batting on his favourite ground, the 29-year-old combined with Wriddhiman Saha and the duo added 103 runs for the seventh wicket in quick time to help India's lead cross the 300-run mark. Rohit fell agonisingly short of his century and got out late in the final session to Mitchell Santner for 82 from 132 balls. His knock included nine boundaries and two massive sixes. Rohit and Saha's partnership put the hosts in a commanding position in the match.

It wasn't a typical Rohit Sharma-innings as the situation required him to play with a lot of caution but the Mumbikar hung in there and did the job for his team. And more importantly, Rohit has managed to keep his critics at bay for a while and maybe keep his place in the side for a while longer.

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