Mumbai: Skipper Virat Kohli slammed his third double century of the year as India tightened their grip on the fourth cricket Test against England by extending the first-innings lead to a formidable 179 runs in Mumbai on Sunday.
At lunch on the fourth day, India were strongly placed at 579 for seven in their first innings, responding to England’s 400 all out. Kohli was batting on a career-best 212, while Jayant Yadav was unbeaten on 92, having stitched a record eighth wicket double century partnership.
Star batsman Kohli started the morning session on 147, in a team total of 451/7, and reached his double century before lunch with a flick through midwicket for a single. Yadav, resuming the day on 30, now holds the record for the highest score by an Indian number nine batsman.
Kohli, during a marathon stay of 479 minutes, struck 24 fours in 184 balls. Yadav’s knock included 13 fours and he has faced 184 balls. He had been dropped on 8 yesterday and it has proved extremely costly for the visitors. The duo’s partnership at lunch was worth 215 runs in 319 balls, having obliterated by a distance the earlier stand of 161 for the same wicket against all comers by Mohammed Azharuddin and Anil Kumble against South Africa in 1996-97.
As many as 128 runs were scored off 29 overs in the pre-lunch session, with the first hour producing 78 in 16. England, buried under the avalanche of runs, can at best hope for a draw on a pitch where the Indian spin trio is expected to make life difficult for the English batsmen. Kohli, who had struck double centuries earlier this year against the West Indies and New Zealand, and Yadav, were so merciless against the visiting bowlers that runs came in a cascade.
Significantly, it was the rookie Yadav, who struck more number of fours than the Indian captain against the demoralised England attack, which was shuffled constantly by captain Alastair Cook. Yadav hit eight fours compared to Kohli’s four in the first hour of play. They also ran the field rugged by turning ones into twos with alacrity. The duo also broke the eighth-wicket record partnership between these two countries – of 168 by Ray Illingworth and Peter Taylor in 1971 in Manchester. Their unfinished stand is also the second-highest ever for the eighth wicket by any country against England after the 243 way back in 1908 by Australia’s M J Hartigan and C Hill.