MUMBAI: Captain Virat Kohli smashed a sensational unbeaten 147 to propel India into the lead on the third day of the fourth Test against England in Mumbai on Saturday.
The Indian skipper, who has enjoyed a remarkable and record-breaking year, hit 17 fours as India reached 451-7 in their first innings at stumps.
“He played exceptionally well today and you have to take your hat off sometimes and just accept it,” England’s Joe Root said of Kohli afterwards.
“The amount of runs Kohli has scored this series, if you take those away it’s a completely different series,” added the 25-year-old Root, whose England side must win if they are to keep the contest alive.
Batsman Kohli crossed 1,000 Test runs for the year and 4,000 for his career during his 241-ball knock to ensure India take a 51-run lead with three wickets remaining into day four.
The 28-year-old entered the fray early in the morning session after Cheteshwar Pujara (47) was bowled out by Jake Ball on just the second ball of the day at the Wankhede Stadium.
Kohli, who has hit two double centuries in 2016, held fort at one end, crossing the century mark mid-way through the final session.
It marked the Indian captain’s second century of the series after his stunning 167 in the second Test at Visakhapatnam.
Kohli’s unbeaten century came after Indian opener Murali Vijay smashed 10 fours and three sixes on his way to a magnificent 136 after starting the morning on 70.
Vijay was sent packing shortly after lunch when spinner Adil Rashid caught and bowled the right-handed batsman.
“It’s very hard to bowl against guys when they’re in that sort of form. They deserved the scores they got,” said Root, who grabbed two wickets.
“The most important thing is we look forward to tomorrow and we take those three early wickets when we get the opportunity.
“Then when it comes to batting we look to put pressure back on them. If we can do that well then we have a really good game on our hands,” added Root.
Kohli excelled at the crease with some exquisite shotmaking as the wickets of Parthiv Patel (15) and Ravichandran Ashwin (0) fell to Root.
Rashid grabbed his second wicket of the day when Ravindra Jadeja was dismissed for 25 but Jayant Yadav stood firm and was batting on 30 with Kohli when stumps were called.
“Any lead is gold on this wicket,” Vijay told reporters.
“During tea-time we just thought get close to their target but now the way Virat and Yadav are batting I think we’re in a pretty good position.”