Indore: 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 today.
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 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 yesterday.
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.
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Later, Kohli – when six short of his second career double hundred – was struck on the leg by Henry as he tried to flick but the very strong and concerted appeal for leg before was not upheld by the umpire.
This was one of the rare occasions that the ball beat the bat during the course of the day’s play in two sessions.
Rahane also went past his previous highest Test score of 147 made against Australia at Melbourne in December, 2014.
Before lunch, the Mumbai batsman became the second player from either side to notch up a century after Kohli, who achieved the landmark yesterday.
By the end of the first session on day two, India had advanced from their overnight 267 for 3 to 358 for 3, by adding 91 runs in 27 overs without losing a wicket.
At the lunch break, Kohli was unbeaten on 149 after adding 46 runs this morning to his last evening’s score of 103, while Rahane was unconquered on 124.
Commencing the day at 267 for 3, Kohli and Rahane were keen to step up the run-rate and succeeded against the visiting team’s attack bowling with the 10-over old second new ball.
Rahane, 21 short of the coveted century landmark, faced a short-ball barrage from Matt Henry before reaching his eighth ton in his 29th Test with a single to long leg off Trent Boult.
He answered back Henry in his own coin, by going on the attack and hooked the fast medium bowler for a four before the next ball, also dug in short, struck him on the side grill of the helmet.
Undaunted, he batted on while Kohli – not out 103 overnight – too took the attack to the opposition by square cutting and straight driving Henry for fours in successive balls.
Rahane proceeded to complete his own century in an unruffled manner as New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson brought on Boult to replace Henry. He reached the landmark in 210 balls and with the help of one six and 11 fours.
He thus joined Kohli in the list of centurions in the series, the Indian captain having done it yesterday. The first hour’s play produced 46 runs in 14 overs.
Later Rahane stepped out to smack off spinner Patel over the straight field for his second six of the innings and then repeated the show off left arm Mitchell Santner when he replaced the off-spinner in the last half hour to lunch. The second hour produced 45 runs in 13 overs.