Virat Kohli's solid knock of 186 off 364 balls against Australia in the fourth Test has finally put a stamp on the star batsman's return to form in Test cricket.
After making a return to form in T20Is and One Day Internationals (ODIs), Kohli's 28th Test ton is a big sigh of relief for the former Indian skipper and his fans.
It was on November 23, 2019, when Kohli had last hit a Test ton. But after that knock, a dry spell started for even Kohli in the format, and went on for over 3 years. During that phase Kohli had a series poor performances, faced severe criticism, lost captaincy, and had a huge mental strain.
But, in the fourth Test against Australia at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, Kohli's century has shown that he is back to his best. He started off slow and dealt mainly in singles and doubles with KS Bharat launching an attack against Cameron Green scoring 21 runs in an over.
A special century: There is huge difference between the Kohli we had seen nearly five years ago and the one who we are seeing now. After his 28th century, Kohli didn't show much excitement in celebration and there was no anger. Instead, what we saw was Kohli calmly taking off his helmet, and raising his bat towards the Indian dressing room with a smile.
He kissed the chain he wears around his neck and the wedding ring. Ravi Shastri, who was in the commentary box, mentioned the calm and maturity shown by Kohli. "He'll remember all those days what he went through," Shastri said.
Kohli had shown the same attitude when he rescued India in a T20 World Cup match against Pakistan at Melbourne in October 2022.
Steve Smith, Joe Root and Kohli: Kohli, with 27 Test centuries in 2019 looked like he would smash all the records. His contemporaries, like Australia's Steve Smith and England's Joe Root were behind him in 2019. But in the last three years, as Kohli's form dipped , Smith and Root have raced past him.
While Smith has 30 Test centuries, having slammed four in the last three years, Joe Root went miles ahead hitting 12 Test tons during the same period. In 2019, Root had 17 Test centuries. But now he has 29 centuries.
At the ICC Test batting rankings, Steve Smith, with a rating of 873 is at number two spot, while Joe Root with 871 is at the third spot. Kohli has fallen behind with 651 points, and is at number 20.
However, it's never too late and Kohli, with the kind of form he is in today, might be dominating 2023. After the Test series, India will play Australia in a three-match ODI series that starts from March 17.
India qualify for the WTC Final: Also, apart from Kohli's good form, there is another good news for team India. The Indian team has now qualified for the World Test Championship (WTC) Final after New Zealand edged past Sri Lanka on the final ball in a dramatic finish to the first Test in Christchurch on Monday (March 13).