Virat Kohli smashed his highest score (and the joint seventh-highest by an Indian) in Test cricket - a magnificent unbeaten 254 putting India in a commanding position at the end of Day 2 of the second Test against South Africa at Pune.
This was Kohli’s 7th Test double hundred which places him at joint number 4 in Test cricket history (alongside Wally Hammond and Mahela Jayawardene). Only Don Bradman (12), Kumar Sangakkara (11) and Brian Lara (9) registered more.
Amongst Indian batsmen, Kohli went past Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag who had 6 double hundreds each. Rahul Dravid follows with 5 while Sunil Gavaskar had 4.
But in terms of frequency of scoring double tons (min. 5), it is Kohli who is the second fastest (in terms of innings) only after The Don.
It is interesting to note that Kohli registered his first Test double hundred against the West Indies in North Sound in July 2016. This basically means that he has registered 7 double hundreds in his last 40 Tests (66 innings) – which makes it a double hundred every 9.43 innings – a mind boggling achievement!
THE BEST FREQUENCY OF SCORING HUNDREDS AFTER BRADMAN AND SMITH
Kohli now has 26 Test hundreds in 138 innings (81 Tests). His last Test ton (before Pune) came against Australia at Perth in December 2018 – a good 10 innings ago.
Compared to his own high standards, he was going through a bit of a rough patch – only three fifties and a high of 25 in the remaining 6 dismissals during this period.
Overall, Kohli’s frequency of scoring a hundred is the third best (in terms of innings) in Test cricket history (a hundred every 5.31 innings) after Bradman (2.76) and Steven Smith (4.77) amongst all the 96 batsmen who have scored a minimum of 5000 Test runs.
Just for perspective, Tendulkar scored a hundred every 6.45 innings while Dravid’s 100-frequency was 7.94.
THE BEST CONVERSION RATE IN TEST HISTORY AFTER THE DON
Kohli’s conversion-rate (% of hundreds when crossed 50) is also the second-best in Test cricket history(min. 5000 runs) after Bradman. He has registered 26 hundreds and 22 fifties and has a conversion rate of 54.17%.
Only 7 batsmen in Test history (min. 5000 runs) have registered more (or as many) hundreds than fifties in their career. The list includes the 5 in the above table and Younis Khan and Michael Vaughan.
Just for comparison with some modern and contemporary greats, Younis Khan had a conversion rate of 50.76%, Steven Smith (49.06%), Gary Sobers (46.43%), Jacques Kallis (43.69%), Tendulkar (42.86%), Sangakkara (42.22%), Lara (41.46%), Hashim Amla (40.58%), Kane Williamson (40%), Ricky Ponting (39.81%), Dravid (36.36%), Vivian Richards (34.78%) and Joe Root (26.23%).
This shows Kohli’s appetite to score big runs and his mental toughness and temperament to spend long periods at the crease.
FOURTH-FASTEST TO 26 TEST HUNDREDS AND THE 7000-CLUB
Kohli also became the fourth-fastest (in terms of number of innings) to register 26 Test hundreds. Just for perspective, Dravid took 226 innings to register his 26th ton, Lara – 189, Ponting – 163, Sangakkara – 169, Hayden – 145, Kallis – 184 and Amla – 169 to mention a few all-time greats.
It is also interesting to compare Kohli with some other all-time greats and see how many hundreds they had registered after their respective 138 innings. Tendulkar had 26, Dravid – 17, Gavaskar – 25, Lara – 15, Ponting – 21, Sangakkara – 19, Hayden – 24, Kallis – 17, Amla – 23.
Kohli has the maximum hundreds (along with Tendulkar) for any batsman after 138 innings in Test cricket history.
He also became the joint fourth-quickest (along with Sobers and Sangakkara) to reach the 7000-Club in Test cricket. Hammond achieved the feat in 131 innings, Virender Sehwag in 134 and Tendulkar in 136.
RECORD AS CAPTAIN AND AN ALMOST PERFECT DISTRIBUTION OF 100s
Kohli has now registered 19 hundreds as captain – the joint-highest with Ponting in Test cricket history. Only Graeme Smith has more – 25.
His Test average as captain of 64.36 is also the fourth-highest in Test history after Bradman (101.51), Steven Smith (70.36) and Sangakkara (69.6).
Kohli now also boasts of the three highest scores by an Indian captain in Test cricket - 254 in this match, 243 against Sri Lanka in Delhi in 2017 and 235 against England in Mumbai in 2016.
He has now registered at least one hundred against every Test opposition at Home and Away (except Bangladesh Away) showcasing his ability to adapt to different conditions and excel in them.
With the home season barely getting underway opposition teams should be beware.
Kohli has hit big early and he is just getting started.