As the world continues to be in awe of Virat Kohli’s brilliant and patient knock of 79 against South Africa on the opening day of the Cape Town Test, a veteran India wicketkeeper has thrown a big compliment towards the India captain. With India in trouble and rest of the batters around him faltering, Kohli scored a gritty half-century and his highest score in Tests in over two years, and many reckon that had he not run out of partners, the wait for the elusive 71st century might have ended.
Dinesh Karthik, the India wicketkeeper lauded Kohli’s grit and determination, and likened the innings to the epic knock former India batter Sachin Tendulkar played against Australia in January of 2004. In one of the most disciplined innings ever played by an India batter, Tendulkar cut down on cover drives and hardly played any shots on the off-side en route to scoring his then-highest Test score of 241 not out. While Kohli did nothing like Tendulkar and he was fluent in his cover drives, the patience shown during his innings reminded Karthik of the great Tendulkar.
Also Read | India vs South Africa Live Score, 3rd Test, Day 2
“From the Johannesburg Test which he did not play, that’s the one thing he must have worked out in the nets – trying to leave as many balls as possible – and he came out there with the perfect intent as a batter. Just the way he paced the innings – in the first 100 balls, he just scored 29. That’s not the Virat Kohli to know but just beautiful to watch. I enjoyed his batting today, very much like how Sachin paaji batted in Sydney. I genuinely thought that of he had batters, the 71st (century) was definitely there,” Karthik said on Cricbuzz.
Marveling at Kohli’s ability to curb his natural instincts and playing a restrained innings, Karthik feel the India skipper was the perfect example of how batting in Test matches should be like. From 29 off 100 balls, Kohli, with wickets falling at the other end, switched gears with panache, scoring runs in boundaries to stand 21 runs close to what could have been his first century in more than two years.
Also Read | De Villiers opens up on decision to retire, says IPL 2021 affected his ‘enjoyment’ of cricket: ‘Made things complicated’
“He was a great example of how somebody with a lot of shots – one of the most talented batters – coming out there and gritting it out. He left balls – the most balls he left in the first 50 of them. So many great stats came about his innings. You always enjoy batters in full flow but there is something really special when someone is gutsing it out there. Completely going against what he is naturally capable of,” added Karthik.