When the umpires put a halt to Kohli’s assault on the West Indies bowlers, the scoreboard showed he was unbeaten on 143 – his 12th Test century and maiden against the West Indies.
The Delhi right-hander was greeted on his return to the pavilion by newly installed coach Anil Kumble, as he made his first day in the job quite a pleasurable one.
Kohli took the West Indies bowling by the scruff of the neck and led his men admirably on a good batting surface. He brought up his century in the final session in the company of all rounder Ravichandran Ashwin, who will accompany him when play resumes this morning.
His century, which was well appreciated by the small crowd on hand, came off 134 balls spiced with 11 fours. Ashwin was unbeaten on 22 at the close in his unbroken association of 66 runs with Kohli.
Earlier, India won the toss and although there was a green tinge on the pitch, they decided to take first strike, thinking that they would enjoy bowling here in the fourth innings.
Fast bowler Gabriel bowled bowled well with the new ball and gave the Indian openers Murali Vijay and Shikar Dhawan a good workout. The right arm fast was bowling consistently over 140k and got one to take off which found the glove of Vijay and into the hands of Kraigg Brathwaite at second slip. He left the arena for seven in the seventh over.
The left handed Dhawan then partnered Chateshwar Pujara and they blunted the West Indies attack, preventing any further breakthroughs. When the lunch van pulled up, they were still battling for India and went into the lunchroom with their pads still on and the score 72 for one.
While the strokeplay was not attractive, the purpose was clear and after the break, they were supposed to improve the scoring rate. They did not cater for leg spinner Devendra Bishoo who came on from the Southern End and immediately sent back Pujara for 16, with the score at 74—ending a partnership of 60.
In came captain fantastic and Indian cricket took on a pretty complexion. The strokeplay was fantastic and unfussed. Kohli looked at times as if he was batting since the day before and he easily took the game away from the West Indies.
The wristy right-hander was brilliant and Dhawan took cue from him and runs flowed. An afternoon of chasing leather under the Antigua sun was punctuated by one bit of relief when Bishoo trapped Dhawan leg before for 84.
The left-hander faced 147 balls, hitting nine fours and a six. He and Kohli added 105 runs for the third wicket as the Indians built on a solid platform.
Kohli mastered the attack and the conditions and led his team masterfully. The highly touted Ajinkya Rahane stepped in and also looked in fine form. Playing touch-cricket he and the speedy Kohli kept the board ticking.
Bishoo used as the stock bowler during the final two sessions, struck again to keep the West Indies interested. Rahane was caught by Darren Bravo for 22 of just 36 balls with four fours—adding 57 runs with Kohli in just 12.3 overs.
West Indies vs India
M Vijay c Brathwaite b Gabriel 7
S Dhawan lbw Bishoo 84
C Pujara c Brathwaite b Bishoo 16
V Kohli not out 143
A Rahane c Bravo b Bishoo 22
R Ashwin not out 22
Extras 4b, 2nb, 2lb 8
Total for 4 wkts 302
Fall of wkts: 14, 74, 179, 236.
Bowling: S Gabriel 13-3-43-1, J Holder 17-4-41-0, C Brathwaite 15-3-46-0, R Chase 17-0-54-0, D Bishoo 27-0-108-3, K Brathwaite 1-0-4-0.