Respect and admiration: Australian skipper Steve Smith congratulates Virat Kohli after marathon century in fourth Test

Following a batting masterclass that put an end to a Test century drought that started in November 2019, star Indian batter Virat Kohli shared a heartwarming moment with Australian stand-in skipper Steve Smith during the fourth Test of Border-Gavaskar Trophy at Ahmedabad.

After being dismissed by spinner Todd Murphy, Virat was lauded by Steve on his way back to the pavilion. Steve shook his hand and patted the batter on his back.

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) posted the picture on Twitter acknowledging Smith’s gesture.

“Respect and admiration,” said BCCI in their tweet.

Notably, both Smith and Kohli are part of the ‘Fab Four’ batters of this generation along with New Zealand’s Kane Williamson and England’s Joe Root.

Both batters have had a storied career in Test cricket as batters.

In 108 matches and 183 innings, Virat has scored 8.416 runs at an average of 48.93. He has scored 28 centuries and an equal number of half-centuries, with the best individual score of 254*.

On the other hand, Smith has represented Australia in 96 Tests, in which he has scored 8,782 runs at an average of 59.74. He has scored 30 centuries and 37 fifties in the format, with the best individual score of 239*.

With this century, Virat has finally hit centuries in all three formats after not being able to hit an international ton from November 2019 till September 8, 2022.

On September 8, 2022, during the Asia Cup 2022 match against Afghanistan, Virat ended his century drought of 1,021 days in international cricket as well. He had smashed 122* off 61 balls. This was also Virat’s first ever century in T20I cricket. His last international ton before that had come in November 2019, in a Test match against Bangladesh.

He followed it by breaking his ODI century drought on December 10, 2022 during 3rd ODI against Bangladesh. He scored 113 in 91 balls to end his ODI ton drought of 1,116 days. Before it, his last ODI ton was against West Indies in August 2019.

The first half of 2022 was filled with struggle for Virat as he could score only 476 runs in 16 matches across 19 innings at an average of 25.05, with just four half-centuries.

But since Asia Cup, he seems to have rediscovered the touch that made him one of the most feared players in the sport. In 31 matches and 35 innings, he has scored 1,507 runs at an average of 55.81. He has scored five centuries and seven fifties since Asia Cup. His best individual score is 186 since the Asia Cup.

He emerged as a second highest run scorer in Asia Cup (276 runs) and the leading run-scorer in ICC T20 World Cup 2022 (296 runs)

Coming to the match against Australia, a marathon innings effort from star batter Virat and his 162-run partnership with Axar Patel helped India end the fourth day of the fourth and final Test against Australia with a lead of 88 runs in Ahmedabad on Sunday.

At the end of the final session on day 4, Australia was at 3/0, with Matt Kuhnemann (0*) and Travis Head (3*) unbeaten on the crease. Australia trail by 88 runs.

India was bundled out for 571 in their first innings.

Virat Kohli brought an end to his century drought in Test cricket, scoring his 75th international century and his 28th in Tests. This was his first century in Tests since November 2019. In his marathon effort, he scored 186 runs in 364 balls, consisting of 15 fours.

Shubman Gill also scored a century, smashing 128 runs in 235 balls. Axar (79), KS Bharat (44) and Cheteshwar Pujara (42) also played some important knocks, which helped India gain a 91-run lead over Australia.

Todd Murphy (3/113) and Nathan Lyon (3/151) were the pick of the bowlers for Australia. Mitchell Starc and Matt Kuhnemann got a wicket each. lead over Australia.

In their first innings, Australia posted 480 runs. Usman Khawaja (180) and Cameron Green (114) posted stunning centuries to help the Aussies gain a massive advantage earlier in the match.

Ravichandran Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers, taking 6/91 on a surface offering no help to spinners.

Brief Scores: India: 571 (Virat Kohli 186, Shubman Gill 128, Todd Murphy 3/113) vs Australia: 480 and 3/0 (Travis Head 3*, Matt Kuhnemann 0*).

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