Virat Kohli hits 49th ODI century on 35th birthday, equals Tendulkar´s record

India´s Ravindra Jadeja (R) greets Virat Kohli on scoring a century (100 runs) during the 2023 ICC Men´s Cricket World Cup one-day international (ODI) match between India and South Africa at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata on November 5, 2023. — AFP

India´s star batter Virat Kohli equalled Sachin Tendulkar´s record of 49 one-day international hundreds in a World Cup match against South Africa on Sunday.

Kohli, who is celebrating his 35th birthday, hit the century in 119 balls, including 10 fours, at Kolkata´s Eden Gardens.

It had taken him 277 innings to score 49 hundreds at this level compared to the 438 required by Tendulkar.

Kohli´s 101 not out was the centrepiece of unbeaten tournament hosts India´s 326-5 in their 50 overs.

Together with Shreyas Iyer (77) he shared a third-wicket partnership of 134 after India captain Rohit Sharma (40) had won the toss on what turned out to be a tricky pitch.

Both India and second-placed South Africa, whose only defeat at this 10-team tournament so far was a shock loss to non-Test side the Netherlands, have already qualified for the semi-finals.

Kohli’s previous memorable tons

First timer — December 24, 2009

Kohli made his ODI debut in 2007 in Sri Lanka and hit his first century in the following year against the same opposition at Kolkata´s Eden Gardens.

A 21-year-old Kohli was already identified as a special talent and came to bat at number four after Virender Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir.

He hit 107 and was involved in a 224-run third-wicket stand with Gambhir, who hit an unbeaten 150, as India chased down a target of 316 with 11 balls and seven wickets to spare.

The knock established Kohli as a dependable batsman and the start of being the chase master that he eventually became.

Aussie ruler – October 20, 2010

Kohli hit his first ODI hundred against Australia in Visakhapatnam in another successful chase against an opposition attack featuring Mitchell Starc.

The top-order batsman came in after the fall of opener Shikhar Dhawan off the second ball and hit an unbeaten 118 to see the team through in 48.5 overs.

He put on key partnerships including a 137-run stand with Yuvraj Singh in a match where skipper MS Dhoni was out for a duck and opposition captain Michael Clarke made 111 not out.

“Kohli batted perfectly,” said Dhoni after the five-wicket win.

Home hero — October 17, 2011

A ton at his home ground in Delhi delighted Kohli no end when he hit an unbeaten 112 against England as India chased down their victory target of 238 with ease.

By now Kohli was one of India´s most consistent batsmen and he showed his class in an unbeaten stand of 209 with Gambhir, who hit 84, to crush England by eight wickets.

England skipper Alastair Cook said, “Virat and Gambhir showed us how it´s done” after India achieved the win in 36.4 overs.

Kohli said it was “especially satisfying” playing on his home turf — the Feroz Shah Kotla ground.

High life — March 18, 2012

Kohli´s 183 off 148 balls at an Asia Cup league match in Mirpur remains his highest ODI score and a knock that pulverised the Pakistan bowling, who were unable to defend 329.

Kohli put on two century partnerships including one with his idol Tendulkar, who made 52, as India won by six wickets.

Despite the win, India failed to make the final, but Kohli, who hit 22 fours and one six in his blitz later said, “I kind of surprised myself (in that knock). From there my belief grew more and more.”

World first – February 15, 2015

Kohli´s 107 against Pakistan in Adelaide was his first century in a World Cup and an Indian win made it all the more special.

Kohli held the innings together and allowed Shikhar Dhawan and Suresh Raina to attack in a mature knock coming of 126 balls.

India rode on the ton to post 300, a total their bowlers defended by dismissing their arch-rivals for 224 with Mohammed Shami picking up four wickets.

Kohli was named man of the match and said he likes the “expectations” of the cricket-crazy nation and his millions of fans.

— With input from AFP

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