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Kohli's grit and spirit to the fore

Special Correspondent

The 18-year-old had lost his father the night before



TREMENDOUS GRIT: Delhi's Virat Kohli, despite personal tragedy came to his team's rescue. — Photo: S. Subramanium

NEW DELHI: Virat Kohli lost his father in the middle of the night. It was a shattering moment for the 18-year-old, still trying to find his feet in the world of cricket and life in general. But he lost little time in taking a decision that only showed the grit and spirit of the young mind.

Kohli reported in time at the Ferozeshah Kotla, put his pads on, shut himself from the tragedy at home, and walked out to bat as if everything was normal. It was a critical stage for Delhi, and Karnataka too, on the third day of the Ranji Trophy Super League match here on Tuesday.

Fightback

Delhi resumed at 103 for five, with the threat of a follow-on looming large, but Kohli, 40 overnight and still in a trance, and young Puneet Bisht, put on a fight. The partnership was worth 152 runs when Kohli was given out ten runs short of a century. Bisht hung on and came up with a brilliant 156 off 283 balls with 21 fours and a six.

"I just wanted to stay at the wicket and take it ball by ball," said Bisht, playing only his second Ranji Trophy match. He was more concerned about Kohli. "He had a blank expression," confessed Bisht on his partner's state of mind in the middle.

Team man

Credit to the young lad for overcoming a huge personal setback and giving his heart to the team's cause with a 238-ball effort with 16 fours. No Delhi member would have grudged had Kohli opted to stay back. Skipper Mithun Manhas even gave him that option but the youngster politely declined the offer and ensured the team did not endure the humiliation of a follow-on. The team saluted his gesture and gave him a standing ovation when he returned, in tears, but composed enough to hide his pain from the eyes of the public.

His job done, Kohli quietly left for the crematorium, but remembered to call Bisht in the evening, congratulating his partner on his maiden first-class century.

The scores:

Karnataka — 1st innings: 446.

Delhi — 1st innings: A. Chopra b Vinay 0, S. Dhawan lbw b Akhil 8, M. Tehlan lbw b Akhil 0, M. Manhas lbw b Vinay 4, V. Kohli c Naidu b Akhil 90, R. Bhatia c Joshi b Akhil 18, P. Bisht c Naidu b Akhil 156, C. Nanda c Akhil b Joshi 6, A. Nehra b Appanna 1, K. Lall lbw b Joshi 1, I. Sharma (not out) 1; Extras (b-10, lb-6, nb-2, w-5) 23; Total (in 119 overs) 308.

Fall of wickets: 1-0, 2-7, 3-14, 4-14, 5-59, 6-211, 7-270, 8-277, 9-278.

Karnataka bowling: Vinay 26-7-78-2, Akhil 25-8-58-5, Binny 16-5-44-0, Joshi 34-13-54-2, Appanna 11-0-43-1, Raghu 7-1-15-0.

Karnataka — 2nd innings: R. Uthappa (batting) 26, R. Barrington b Bhatia 5, B. Chipli (batting) 0; Extras (nb-1) 1; Total (for one wkt. in 14.5 overs) 32.

Fall of wicket: 1-32.

Delhi bowling: Nehra 4-1-4-0, Sharma 4-1-10-0, Bhatia 3.5-2-5-1, Nanda 3-1-13-0.

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