Cricket-Country-1

Virat Kohli will play his first Test against Sri Lanka when India take on the hosts at Galle on Wednesday. Kohli has a brilliant record against Sri Lanka across all formats. With an amazing record in limited-overs cricket against Sri Lanka, Kohli is likely to stand out among the rest when the visitors bat. Sudatta Mukherjee analyses Kohli’s performance against Sri Lanka till now and predicts what could happen in the three-Test series.

Virat Kohli has played 40 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) and two Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) against Sri Lanka. His batting average against Sri Lanka in ODIs is 56.24 and in T20Is is 72.50. Kohli has a batting average of over 42 in six different countries. The only place where his average against Sri Lanka is low is West Indies (11), where he has played only three matches. It can be easily predicted that Sri Lanka is one of Kohli’s favourite oppositions, having played the most number of matches against them.

When India take on Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle, Kohli is likely to lead the visitors’ attack, not only as the skipper of the side but also as a batsman. With Murali Vijay ruled out of the first Test, a lot will depend on how KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan play at the top. Rohit Sharma will come out to bat at No.3, as revealed by Kohli, which means the skipper will come out to bat at No.4. Let us see how Kohli has fared at No.4 across different formats.

Format

M

R

HS

AVE

Test

33

2471

169

46.62

ODIs

50

1905

139*

56.02

T20Is

4

59

29

29.5

It is well known that Kohli has played more limited-over matches at No. 3. However, in Tests, Kohli has played 33 out of 34 matches at No. 4 and he shines occupying the spot. Kohli has played 14 matches in Asia, one in Bangladesh and 13 in India. His average is 48.50 in Asia, which might not be a lot if compared to his average in Oceania (Australia and New Zealand), which is 63.47.

Kohli has been sensational in the two Tests in which he captained India against Australia. He was aggressive by nature but the captain in him displayed a different Kohli altogether. It was the sense of being the responsible leader, who leads the team from the front, not only in making smooth and swift decisions, but with his batting too.

It was well known by now that Kohli’s aim in the coming years as the skipper of India will be to win more overseas Tests. If under him India win the Test series in Sri Lanka, it will be after 22 years. The 26-year-old may not have had a good time in the tour match against Sri Lanka Board President’s XI, but it will be too early to rule out a Kohli storm.

Despite being one of the youngest by age in the squad, Kohli has more Test experience than 95 percent of the team. The only two players to have played more Tests than Kohli are Harbhajan Singh and Ishant Sharma. Undoubtedly, Kohli will be India’s premier batsman in the Test series and especially in the first Test. It will be interesting to see how well Kohli takes the battle in his first ever Test against Sri Lanka.

(Sudatta Mukherjee is a reporter with CricketCountry. Other than writing on cricket, she spends penning random thoughts on her blog. When she is not writing, you will catch her at a movie theatre or watching some English televison show on her laptop. Her Twitter handle is @blackrosegal)