Kohli, Vijay put India in driver’s seat

AGENCIES
HYDERABAD, 9th FEB: Skipper Virat Kohli and opener Murali Vijay's scintillating centuries put India in the driver's seat as the hosts posted 356/3 at stumps on the opening day of the one-off cricket Test against Bangladesh at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium here on Thursday.

          Kohli was batting on 111 with middle-order mainstay Ajinkya Rahane (45 not out) giving him company at the other end when the umpires removed the bails for the day. Earlier, Vijay (108) and Cheteshwar Pujara (83) raised a 178-run second-wicket stand to help India recover from the early loss of opener Lokesh Rahul (2).

         Both Kohli and Rahane denied any inroads to the Bangladesh bowlers, who sweated it hard throughout the day on a wicket which gradually slowed down as the innings progressed. Kohli, who came to the crease at the fall of Pujara, looked set for another big innings when he got off the mark by hitting Mehedi Hassan Miraz for a four on his very first ball.

          The 28-year-old Delhi batsman settled in no time, getting the quick singles and twos with Vijay inching towards his individual three-figure mark. In the course, Vijay brought up his ninth Test ton by pushing one casually past extra-cover while Kohli cut loose at the other end to get near his half-century and forge a 54-run third-wicket stand.

          Immediately after reaching the landmark, Vijay went on with a casual approach and paid the price when he was bowled around the legs by Taijul Islam. His 160-ball knock was laced with 12 hits to the fence and one over it. Vijay's departure brought in Rahane, who with Kohli thwarted every effort from the visitors with their balanced but aggressive approach.

          Kohli, who by now got his 50 off 70 deliveries, gradually changed gears and looked on course to equal former India skipper Sourav Ganguly's record of 16 Test tons. With Bangladesh opting for the second new ball, both the Indian batsmen did not let the opportunity to gather some quick runs go with the bounce offered by the red cherry.

         Kohli grabbed the loose chances with both hands, reaching his century with a flick to the mid-wicket boundary while Rahane played the perfect second fiddle as the Indian duo went undivided with a 122-run fourth-wicket stand when the stumps were drawn for the day. Kohli has so far consumed 141 deliveries for his knock, which includes 12 fours, while Rahane's 60-ball 45 contained seven boundaries.

          Earlier, electing to bat after calling the toss correctly, the hosts were off to a dismal start losing Rahul in the very first over of the match when pacer Taskin Ahmed managed to break through his defence. Pujara then joined Vijay in the middle and the duo cautiously batted the first session to help India to post 86/1 at the lunch break.

         Coming back, the right-handed pair went on to score their respective 50s to put India in a commanding position before Pujara was sent back to the pavilion by off-spinner Miraz. The 178-run second-wicket partnership was broken in the 51st over with the scoreboard reading 180.

           Unperturbed by the fall of Pujara's wicket, Vijay opened up along with Kohli and the runs continued to flow. For the visitors, Taskin, Miraz and Taizul managed to take one wicket each, as skipper Mushfiqur Rahim employed as many as seven bowlers during the day.


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