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What made Virat Kohli score 79 runs off 201 balls on Day 1 in Cape Town?

The 33-year-old made a few minor changes in his batting technique which certainly reaped rewards for him.

Rohan Gulaty Author

Updated - 12 January 2022 11:07 am

Virat Kohli was the star of the show on Day 1 of the 3rd Test between South Africa and India in Cape Town. After registering scores of 35 and 18 in the series opener in Centurion, the 33-year-old had to miss the subsequent game due to an upper back spasm. While sitting helplessly in the dressing room, he saw his side losing in Johannesburg.

As expected, he returned to India’s playing XI for the decider at Newlands but it was not the same player who played in the 1st Test. Kohli at Cape Town was a completely different player from the Kohli at Centurion. It seemed like the player had made a few minor changes in his technique and mental approach which reaped huge benefits for him and his side.

In slightly overcast conditions against a lethal pace attack, all the Indian batters seemed to be struggling but King Kohli stood like a wall. In a perfect tribute to head coach Rahul Dravid on his birthday, Kohli showed immense grit and determination to play a fighting 79-run knock in 201 deliveries, which was one of the best-ever knocks seen in red-ball cricket in recent times.

WATCH: Virat Kohli hits one of the greatest half-centuries in history of Test cricket

The fans and cricket experts were undoubtedly in full praise and awe of Kohli who produced a batting masterclass in Cape Town. However, the big question in everyone’s mind was – How did he manage to turn around his fortunes in space of 15 days? From someone who was struggling and edging the ball against the same bowlers in 1st Test, what changes did he make which made him look so comfortable in the middle in 3rd Test?

There were a few observations that we could come up which might have proven to be some of the key reasons behind Kohli’s brilliant return to form.

Kohli did not play the balls going away from him

One of the key issues with Virat Kohli in recent times has been his tendency to play the balls going away from him. One moment of lapse of concentration is something that the 33-year-old has been guilty of, which is how he succumbed in the 1st Test as well. Playing the ball which is around a 10th or 11th stump line has been the biggest problem for Kohli!

But unlike the last few games, the 33-year-old ensured that he would leave any delivery going away from him. Patience was the key for Kohli on Tuesday as he only got his bat to balls that were closer to him. In the first 50 deliveries, he left around 66% of them which is a testimony to the sheer willpower and focus he displayed during his knock.

Kohli made the plans and executed them with perfection

Every day is a learning and Virat Kohli realized after 1st Test that he needed to make some adjustments in order to get past his rough patch. Just like any other great player, he worked on his flaws in the practice sessions and came up with specific plans against the particular deliveries bowled by specific bowlers from a certain angle.

You will be surprised to know that two of the most gorgeous shots Kohli played during his knock on Day 1 in Cape Town had already been played during the practice sessions. The six off the pull shot he hit against Kagiso Rabada (who was bowling from over the wicket) and the mesmerizing cover drive against Marco Jansen (who was bowling from round the wicket) were the outcomes of his planning ahead of the match.

Kohli made minor changes in his footwork

There have been many debates around the point that Kohli should learn from Sachin Tendulkar’s 241-run knock at SCG where he played no cover drives. However, for someone as aggressive as Kohli who scores most of his runs through his favourite shot in that cover region, letting go of the cover drive was never an option! Hence, he made a few minor adjustments to ensure he could play the shot without losing his wicket.

Kohli was seen in much more control while playing the shot in Cape Town as compared to Centurion. It was basically because of the fact that the right-handed batsman was pushing/caressing the ball in 3rd Test rather than hitting the shot with power. As a result, his backfoot was placed on the ground giving him more stability, unlike the 1st Test where his backfoot was lifting, which did not allow him to be in complete control.

It was undoubtedly a batting exhibition produced by Kohli in Cape Town on Tuesday as he once again proved why he is considered one of the best batsmen of the modern era. India’s captain certainly gave a perfect demonstration of how one can learn from mistakes and overcome them to succeed in any aspect of life. Take a bow, King Kohli!

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