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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Kohli's confidence sets him apart, says Pujara as India take control of Nagpur cricket Test

Sri Lanka 21-2 in second innings after hosts post 600-plus total on board on Day 3 of second match

Virat Kohli has scored more hundreds than any other India Test captain. Rajanish Kakade / AP Photo
Virat Kohli has scored more hundreds than any other India Test captain. Rajanish Kakade / AP Photo

Captain Virat Kohli stood tall with a double century as India cornered Sri Lanka with an imposing first innings lead of 405 on Day 3 of the second Test on Sunday.

India declared their innings on 610-6 after Rohit Sharma completed his hundred as they seek to go one up in the three-match series.

Rohit made 102 with wicketkeeper-batsman Wriddhiman Saha, on 2, for company in Nagpur.

The day though belonged to Kohli who hit a majestic 213 before falling to off-spinner Dilruwan Perera as he walked back to a standing ovation from a raucous home crowd.

It was the star batsman's fifth 200-plus score in his 62nd Test. He has achieved double tons against West Indies, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh.

Kohli and Rohit put on 173 runs for the fifth wicket to pulverise a deflated Sri Lanka attack that sent down 176.1 overs in about six sessions of play.

Kohli, who started the day on 54, played attacking cricket to smash 17 fours and two sixes during his 267-ball knock.

"He is a kind of player who performs well in all formats of the game," Cheteshwar Pujara, who shared a 183-run third-wicket partnership with Kohli, said of his captain.

"I think it's his confidence. And the way he is batting in the last two-three years, it would have been difficult for any other batsman to score with such a strike rate."

He got able support from Rohit, who changed gears after scoring his fifty before tea to get runs all around the ground while registering his third Test hundred.

It was the star batsman's fifth 200-plus score in his 62nd Test. He has also achieved double centuries against the West Indies, New Zealand, England and Bangladesh.

After the third-wicket marathon partnership, Kohli and Rohit put on 173 for the fifth wicket to pulverise a deflated Sri Lanka attack that sent down 176.1 overs in about six sessions of play.

Kohli received able support from Rohit, who reached his 50 before tea and then stepped up a gear to amass runs all around the ground and register his third Test hundred.

Kohli's earlier marathon stand stand with his overnight partner Pujara, who made a composed 143, had taken the steam out of the attack.

Pujara was bowled by paceman Dasun Shanaka in the first session, but Kohli kept scoring quickly as his team chased an innings victory.

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"I think it was difficult to score runs as this wicket was on the slower side. It wasn't easy to get boundaries and we had to rotate the strike," Pujara said.

"But I think, going forward in this game, the ball has started turning and we are hoping Day 4, spinners will come into play. And at the same time there is variable bounce for fast bowlers, Ishant and Umesh [Yadav] will also come into play."

Kohli's score was his 10th international century (four in Tests and six in one-day internationals) of the year - the most by any captain in a calendar year.

Australia's Ricky Ponting had hit nine hundreds across two formats in 2005 and 2006, while South African Graeme Smith once had nine centuries to his credit.

Ajinkya Rahane, who was out to Perera for 2, and opener Lokesh Rahul were the only two specialist batsmen to miss the Indian run fest of one double century and three centuries.

The first century had come from Murali Vijay (128), who along with Pujara had put India in the driving seat with a 209-run second-wicket partnership after Rahul's early departure on Day 1.

Sri Lanka's fast bowling coach Rumesh Ratnayake urged his players not be discouraged by the hammering, saying they can take a leaf out of the Indian batsmen's book.

"We want to be positive. If yout take the Indian innings, they were positive and we can take that as a lesson. Trying to get the confidence back," Ratnayake said.

The rain-hit first match of the series in Kolkata ended in a draw.

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