Emotional Virat Kohli sparks huge celebrations with first Test century for three years

Indian superstar finally hits 28th ton during match against Australia in Ahmedabad

Virat Kohli celebrates after scoring a century against Australia at Narendra Modi Stadium on March 12, 2023. Getty
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Indian superstar Virat Kohli claimed his first Test century in more than three years on Sunday, sparking raucous celebrations at the world's biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.

Kohli admitted last year to mental health struggles as his magic with the bat deserted him and he also lost the Indian captaincy, one of the most high-pressure jobs in world sport.

But on Sunday, having already returned to form with ODI and T20 centuries in recent months, the long wait for his 28th Test ton ended in the fourth Test against Australia.

Resuming on 59 after reaching his first Test half-century on Saturday since January 2022, the landmark came after a patient innings of 241 balls as he eased Nathan Lyon for a single.

Appearing to tear up, the 34-year-old acknowledged the crowd and the dressing room before kissing the locket on his gold chain as he looked up to the sky.

“A 600-kilo gorilla is off his back. He will grow a couple of inches taller by this evening,” shouted commentator and former India coach Ravi Shastri.

Australia's stand-in-skipper Steve Smith applauded on the ground, and a placard in the crowd read “Here to see King Kohli ruling in his kingdom”.

Kohli's century - in pictures

Former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted: “Good to see @imVkohli back scoring a Test ton .. Love watching him Bat .. Over 3 yrs since his last one .. My guess is a few might come along now”.

Kohli had a tough 2021 and 2022, failing to reach three figures in over 1,000 days.

He quit as Twenty20 skipper in late 2021 and in January 2022 was sacked from the one-day captaincy and gave up leading the Test side too.

But he hit his first ton after 1,020 days in the Asia Cup T20 tournament in September last year and hasn't looked back since.

Kohli finished the T20 World Cup in Australia last year as the leading run-scorer and then hit three ODI centuries including two – 113 and 166 not out – against Sri Lanka in January.

Kohli remains behind Australia's Smith and England's Joe Root in the number of Test centuries between the “fabulous four” – the leading four batsmen of the modern era.

Smith overtook Kohli during the Indian batsman's lean phase and now has 30 Test centuries. Root – who made five hundreds in 2022 – has 29 and New Zealand's Kane Williamson has 26.

Kohli's previous Test hundred dates back to November 2019 against Bangladesh in a day-night game in India.

India were eventually bowled out for 571 with Kohli making 186, following Australia's first innings total of 480. The Aussies resume on day five on three without loss, trailing by 88, as the match heads for a draw.

Updated: March 12, 2023, 12:15 PM