With Virat Kohli, it’s always about something extra

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PUNE: Extra. Virat Kohli has got that something extra. Extra power to start afresh. Extra patience than rivals in terms of getting bored or disheartened. Extra mental strength to forget about the deliveries that have beaten him all ends up. Extra strength in lungs to appeal, shout, egg on his team-mates and also sledge.

Extra energy to run well between the wickets without getting tired and to walk with a spring in his stride. To inhale more oxygen in his supremely toned body and thereby swelling his proud heart further.

And yes, those extra-cover drives on either side of that fielder. He hits that with machine-line precision and yet touches the heart with its aesthetic beauty. All these were on display at Gahunje when Kohli scored his seventh Test double hundred on the second day of the second Test against South Africa on Friday.

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It seemed even the forces above wanted to see a bit more of Kohli. For, part-time left-arm spinner Senuran Muthusamy got Kohli caught behind but had overstepped to negate the pitch in the post-tea session.

In the morning session, Kohli was somewhat lucky and Vernon Philander somewhat unlucky as he did everything except produce the outside edge. And when he did find the edged, it didn’t carry to the fielders.

On the first day, Maharaj had grassed a sharp caught and bowled chance offered by Kohli when the batsman was on 3.

But then, even luck becomes a footnote if the batsman fails to capitalise on it. Kohli made the most of it. He also provided generous entertainment.

Kohli’s straight driven fours off Kagiso Rabada were dipped in class and timing. He played some breathtaking short-arm pulls besides caressing the ball between mid-on and mid-wicket. A flicked four that he played showing the arc of the bat would have made Sachin Tendulkar proud.

And then came a four that pierced the tiny gap between extra-cover and mid-off. It was vintage Virat.

There was the trademark berating of himself too in the first session of play. He was critical of himself for not punching the ball enough through cover to fetch him more than a single.

After going past his double hundred, he hit some real boundaries. In limited overs cricket, you get many boundaries due to field restrictions since TV demands it. Here in the post-tea session, he was having fun with the rivals despite a spread-out field.
Not surprising then that Kohli was the dominant partner in the initial phase of his long association with Ravindra Jadeja. The latter scored only seven in the first half-century of the stand; and less than 25 when the partnership reached 100.
Kohli didn’t go for a triple hundred and declared about 80 minutes before scheduled close to give his bowlers enough overs. He probably took into account possible weather disruptions that have been forecast over the next couple of days. He didn’t take the field in the early part of the South African innings. But then, he marched in.
He wants to contribute extra. And doesn’t want to concede an extra inch.

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