Virat Kohli ended his long wait for a Test century in style as India took an 88-run lead over Australia in the fourth and final Test.
India have already defended the Border-Gavaskar Trophy after winning the first two Tests but, after losing in the third, need a win to secure a place in June’s ICC Test Championship final against Australia at Lord’s.
A draw or loss would leave the door open for Sri Lanka to take its place with a 2-0 series win over New Zealand. Sri Lanka need nine wickets to win the first test on Monday’s final day.
Defeat for India looks very unlikely after Kohli scored his first hundred in the longest format since November 2019. His stunning 186 and Axar Patel’s 79 took the hosts to 571, with Australia making it a narrow 3-0 to start their second inning.
With one game day remaining, a tie is the expected outcome, but the match will be remembered now as Kohli masterfully ended his losing streak.
He resumed on the 59th with India at 289-3 and was little concerned as Australia worked on a slow incline, allowing Kohli to bring Test Century 28 with a clipped single through square in what was just a low-key celebration of the former captain, but brought an enthusiastic welcome from the noisy Ahmedabad crowd.
Commentator and former India coach Ravi Shastri announced “a 600-pound gorilla fell off his back” and Kohli certainly played with freedom after that, hitting 150 with consecutive limits as he hit a glorious cover drive and then another four through that Midwicket threaded.
His support wasn’t as persistent as Kohli but offered ample help moving the scoreboard, Srikar Bahrat hit two fours and three sixes in his 44 and Axar let loose with five fours and four maximums.
Kohli eventually holed out in deep midwicket to finish the India innings. After the drought is over, India will hope they’ve done enough to give it an opportunity to produce a similar show in London, where the championship is at stake.
Kohli ends 1,205-day drought
Kohli had not hit three figures since scoring 136 goals against Bangladesh at Eden Gardens almost three and a half years ago.
It’s a remarkable time for a player of Kohli’s quality, who prevailed when he scored his 75th international century and reached that number in 552 innings. Great Indian compatriot Sachin Tendulkar needed 566 to do the same feat.
Gavaskar mark reached
Kohli’s hundred was his eighth against Australia in Test cricket, taking him to Sunil Gavaskar’s second most by an Indian batsman. Tendulkar (11) still holds the record for centuries against Australia in red ball cricket for India.