Test cricket’s return to the Wankhede Stadium after five years coincides with the return of Virat Kohli in the Indian team. Captain of the Test and ODI, Kohli was rested for the three T20Is and the Kanpur Test, and as the charismatic batter returns to the Test setup amid reports of rain playing spoilsport in Mumbai, India would hope the weather stays clear so the Men in Blue could aim at beating New Zealand and win the series.
Despite coming perilously close in the first Test in Kanpur to taking a 1-0 series lead, India could not get over the line with New Zealand’s last-wicket pair of Rachin Ravindra and Ajaz Patel successfully playing out the last 52 balls of the day and playing out a heroic draw. However, Kohli’s return gives the team a much-needed boost with India’s middle-order looking a tad fragile.
With his return, Kohli would be eager to get certain things ticked in his box. The first and foremost being ending his century drought. It has been 56 innings across formats that Kohli last scored an international century. His last century came against Bangladesh in a Day/Night Test against Bangladesh in November of 2019 and the India captain has averaged less than 30 in Test matches since December of 2020.
Having said that, the Mumbai Test could be the ideal platform for Kohli to return to form, given his fine record at the Wankhede Stadium. In Mumbai, Kohli has played four matches and scored 433 runs in six innings at an average of 72.16 including three fifties and one century. The last time India played at the venue – against England in 2016 – Kohli amassed 235 runs.
If Kohli can break his century drought, he would achieve a big feat. With 70 centuries across formats, Kohli is tied with Australia great Ricky Ponting for most international hundreds by a captain, and if the India captain is able to register a ton, it would be his 42nd, the most by a captain in international cricket. That though isn’t the only coincidence between Kohli and Ponting. Kohli, with 10 centuries, is also one shy of tying Ponting for most centuries by a Test captain at home.