Cricket: Kohli continues love affair with Adelaide and Australia

Cricket: Kohli continues love affair with Adelaide and Australia

ADELAIDE - Virat Kohli continued his love affair with Australia and the Adelaide Oval when he scored his 22nd one-day century to drive India to a 76-run victory over Pakistan in the World Cup on Sunday.

The 26-year-old has now scored seven centuries in 21 one-day and test matches on Australian soil and four in five matches in both formats at the historic ground beside the River Torrens.

Two of those came last December in the first test against Australia and it was also at the Adelaide Oval that he secured his maiden test century in the 2011-12 tour.

"I want to wrap up this ground and take it home," Kohli said in a pitchside interview after his knock of 107. "This has been a really special ground for me."

Since the last test series ended, though, he had raised eyebrows by going through four one-day matches and two warm-ups in Australia without getting anywhere close to a century, only once getting into double figures.

The right-hander was obviously just keeping his powder nice and dry for when it really mattered and on Sunday he returned to the triple-figure club in imperious style.

His first World Cup century came against Bangladesh in the opening match of the triumphant 2011 campaign on home soil but his second was a more significant knock.

For once in Australia, Kohli had the crowd mostly cheering rather than barracking him as India trounced their neighbours to get their title defence off to the best possible start.

"It's probably one of the biggest wins I've had in my career right now," he said after being named Man of the Match.

"Just an amazing way for us to kick off the World Cup, just an amazing pressure game against Pakistan. Good to get that one under the belt."

Forming partnerships of 129 with opener Shikhar Dhawan and 110 with Suresh Raina, Kohli's measured innings - he hit no sixes and eight fours in the 126-ball knock - was the glue that held India's batting together.

"My role in the team is to bat through and the power batters around me can come in and play with freedom because they know one end is secure," he added.

His 22nd century in his 143rd innings put him joint fourth on the all time list of most one-day centuries alongside his former captain Sourav Ganguly, who took 300 attempts to accumulate as many.

Only Sachin Tendulkar (49 centuries from 452 innings), Ricky Ponting (30 from 365) and Sanath Jayasuriya (28 from 433) now sit above him in the list.

Being described as the "new Sachin for Indian fans" in the post-match ceremony just drew a huge smile from the batsman. "That's a really big compliment," he said.

"Expectations will rise when you do well for your country and I just try to live up to them because I love winning games and I love playing for my country.

"It just comes naturally to me and I like the expectation and the pressure as well."

 

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