It was the most tragic way to be dismissed after dominating for most of 180 deliveries in tricky conditions in his country's first overseas Day and Night Test. Virat Kohli looked really good today. He was determined, he was focused, he left beautifully, he played the pull with conviction, there were some sublime flicks on the leg side and he put away the rare bad deliveries. And just when he and Ajinkya Rahane looked all set to take the match away from Australia, after doing all the hard work negotiating the world class attack of Cummins, Hazlewood, Starc and Lyon, Kohli was left high and dry and stranded half way courtesy a terrible call from his partner and was run out.
That run out of Kohli came at a crucial time for India - just three overs prior to the new ball when batting under lights becomes a major challenge. India had a mini collapse and moved from a strong position (188 for 3) to 233 for 6 at stumps on Day 1 losing two big wickets with the second new Pink Ball under the floodlit Adelaide Oval.
Kohli's dismissal may just turn out to be the turning point not only for this Test but the entire series. The Indian skipper has been a run-machine Down Under and has loved batting at the Adelaide Oval.
He has scored 1348 runs in just 13 Tests (24 innings) at an average of 56.16 in Australia. For visiting batsmen from the subcontinent (min. 500 runs), only Kumar Sangakkara (60.33) has a higher average in Australia than Kohli. Just for perspective, Pujara has a batting average of 54.64, Tendulkar - 53.2, Gavaskar - 51.11, Younis Khan - 50.63, Sehwag - 46.86, Laxman - 44.14 and Dravid - 41.64 in Australia. Kohli has bettered all their efforts.
Kohli has registered 6 hundreds in Australia and is tied third with Herbert Sutcliffe and Tendulkar. But while the incumbent Indian captain has just taken 12 Tests to register these 6 centuries, Sutcliffe and Tendulkar played 14 and 20 Tests in Australia. Only Jack Hobbs (9) and Wally Hammond (7) have registered more hundreds Down Under than Kohli.
Kohli's record in Adelaide stands out. He has aggregated 505 runs in 7 innings at an average of 72.14 in Adelaide. Amongst visiting batsmen, only Lara, Hobbs and Vivian Richards have scored more runs at the venue. Kohli's three hundreds at the Adelaide Oval are also the joint-highest for a visiting batsman along with Sir Jack Hobbs.
Batting at Number 6, Kohli scored a fighting 116 in the first innings in Adelaide in 2012. He came out to bat at 87 for 4 and top-scored for his country even as wickets tumbled at the other end. The second highest score of the innings was 35. That innings' set the tone for Kohli - the Test batsman. It was his first overseas Test hundred and he has never looked back thereafter.
Kohli became the fourth Indian after Hazare, Gavaskar and Dravid to register a hundred in each innings of a Test when he scored 115 and 141 at the Adelaide Oval in 2014.
Chasing 364, Kohli and Murali Vijay had forged together a brilliant 185-run stand for the third wicket before Vijay's dismissal opened the floodgates for India. Kohli continued the fight but was finally out with the team score at 304 hammering a brilliant 141 off just 175 deliveries - one of the finest Test hundreds by a visiting batsman in Australia, albeit in a losing cause.
Kohli looked all set to register his 4th ton at the Adelaide Oval today. He has one more innings to put the disappointment of his dismissal behind and leave a mark on the series.