Kohli’s first double takes India past 400

India's captain Virat Kohli

Virat Kohli continued his efficient and energetic accumulation of runs to bring up his maiden first-class double hundred, which took India past 400 in the first session of the second day. This was the first away double-century by an India captain. In a wicketless session that went for 102 runs, R Ashwin enjoyed some luck but also displayed some attractive shots; a back-foot punch for four through mid-on was the shot of the session. The partnership between the two swelled to 168.

India's captain Virat Kohli
India’s captain Virat Kohli

Shane Dowrich waited 97 overs for a chance and dropped the first one that came his way, reprieving Ashwin. Shannon Gabriel, the unfortunate bowler, looked like the only one remotely capable of creating an opportunity. The others only worked on denying the batsmen, which worked for a while with Ashwin, who at one point went 40 balls for four runs, but Kohli kept finding a way around the defensive lines.

As was the case on day one, Gabriel bowled a short burst with the new ball, which was taken first thing in the morning. He tested Ashwin, who was dropped on 43 by Dowrich, who looked like he was already thinking of celebrating even before completing the simple catch. Jason Holder looked unremarkable at the other end; Carlos Brathwaite did a better job of testing the batsmen’s patience with consistent bowling a set of stumps outside off stump.

The tactic had kept India’s top order quiet in the first session of the match, but Kohli didn’t wait for too long before taking a calculated risk, which was executed so well it didn’t look like a risk. Kohli has his own way of choosing what balls to drive. Each delivery of Brathwaite’s first three overs was bowled to Kohli, who attempted to score off only one, the widest of the lot. It wasn’t a half-volley either, but Kohli drove superbly on the up, and got a boundary to break any pressure the joining of dots creates.

Cover driving, as usual, remained the feature of Kohli’s innings. When he gave the treatment to Devendra Bishoo in the 105th over, the boundary took him past his previous best of 169; it was his 50th run through the covers. A sign of how well he batted came in how, in the 113th over, he played perhaps the only ungainly shot of his innings, a half-sweep across the line to deep midwicket. Turned out he had picked the rare wrong’un from Bishoo, and was actually playing with the spin.

No Test double is easy, but in the last over before lunch, Kohli strolled to one of the more inevitable ones with an easy single off a short offbreak. Ashwin, who has two centuries against West Indies to his name, was now looking comfortable with 64 runs at a Test average of 67.80 against West Indies. (ESPNcricinfo) 

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo





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