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There is no denying that Virat Kohli got a magnificent hundred against Australia on day three of the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne. At the same time, it must be said that he was lucky to get there. In the aftermath of the tussle with Mitchell Johnson, he was clearly rattled. There was a significant phase, after being hit by Johnson, who tried to knock Kohli’s stumps down, when Virat Kohli looked unsettled — the adrenaline was flowing rather unnecessarily for him. The score of 169 does reflect a fantastic effort from Kohli, but things could certainly have been different had he not had his strokes of luck during his wavering period.
Above photo: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 28: Mitchell Johnson of Australia exchanges words with Virat Kohli of India during day three of the Third Test match between Australia and India at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 28, 2014 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney – CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images)
At the press conference following the day’s play, Virat Kohli boasted that the duel with Mitchell Johnson had spurred him on, and encouraged him to do as well as he did. But, that was far from the truth. In the very same over that he was knocked down by Johnson, Kohli flashed outside the off-stump, and edged one away from the body. It could easily have carried to any of the fielders behind the wickets, but didn’t. Only a few balls later, Kohli again edged one to the slips, and this time Shane Watson spilled a tough one. Soon after, Kohli top-edged a pull, and the shot fell tantalisingly close to Brad Haddin. All these strokes came after Kohli had been hit by Johnson, and one really cannot figure out how Kohli termed the verbal battle helped him.
Had any of the chances gone to hand, Kohli would have been dismissed ahead of getting his ninth Test century. The half-an-hour period during which Kohli commited plenty of transgressions was a clear indication that the batsman’s mind was not in the right place. He clearly seemed intent on proving a point, and almost lost his concentration and his wicket in the process. Virat Kohli is known to be a combative character, but if his chirpiness out in the middle is costing the side, he better watch that out. India need Kohli the batsman more than Kohli the talker.
Virat Kohli’s reaction to Mitchell Johnson’s throw was also amateurish. Yes, he was definitely hurt by the throw, but the left-arm seamer was sporting enough to apologise for the same, and even gave Kohli a friendly pat on the back. The Indian, who then should have let the moment pass, took things personally, and attacked the Aussies and Johnson in particular at the end of the day’s play. It is something which Kohli could have avoided. Ryan Harris did admit that they had respect for Kohli. Looking at the situation from an unbiased point of view, Virat Kohli ended up looking rather immature. In spite of having scored nine Test tons, he is still young mentally, and needs to grow up.