Indore:Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli eased his way to a second double century while Ajinkya Rahane also came up with a career-best knock as India took complete command against New Zealand on the second day of the third and final Test here on Sunday.
Kohli remained unconquered on career-best 207, his second double ton in the space of six Tests while Rahane remained unbeaten on 161 with India reaching 456 for three at tea. In the process, the duo also raised the highest-ever fourth-wicket stand of 356 for India against all opposition, overtaking the previous Indian record of 353 by Sachin Tendulkar and VVS Laxman conjured against Australia at the SCG in January, 2004. These two completely dominated a listless New Zealand bowling attack enabled India to add 98 runs in 30 overs in the second session after they resumed at the lunchtime score of 358 for 3.
Kohli reached his double century with a single to long leg off fast bowler Matt Henry, who had rapped him on the pads when he was on 194 only to find the concerted appeal being turned down by the umpire. It took the Indian captain 347 balls and 516 minutes stay to reach the landmark with the help of 18 hits to the fence. He had made exactly 200 in July against the West Indies in the opening Test of the series in North Sound, Antigua.
At tea, Kohli had faced 363 balls and struck 19 fours while Rahane’s 342-ball essay contained four sixes, three of those against spinners, and 14 fours. The well-set fourth-wicket pair stepped on the gas and attacked the New Zealand bowling with gusto from the beginning of the post-lunch session. Both batsmen looked totally at ease against pace and spin on a track that eased oit considerably as they first shot their way past the previous best stand of 281 against New Zealand between Sachin Tendulkar and Saurav Ganguly in 1999 at Ahmedabad. They continued to frustrate the Kiwis after having joined forces at the fall of Cheteshwar Pujara when the team score was 100 in the second session on Saturday.
Rahane continued to use his feet beautifully against the rival spin bowlers and danced down the track to smack off spinner Jeetan Patel over long on for his fourth six, to add to the three he had hit earlier. The first hour of play produced 66 runs in only 16 overs as the New Zealand attack wilted against the Kohli-Rahane onslaught.