India placed themselves in an impregnable position when they posted an imposing total of 557 runs before declaring the innings closed. That was mainly due to the magnificent partnership between skipper Virat Kohli and his deputy Ajinkya Rahane. Kohli got his second double hundred as the captain and Rahane missed out by a dozen runs but both had taken India into a dominant place. Rohit Sharma then rubbed more salt into the New Zealand wounds by smashing a brilliant half century before Kohli applied the declaration.
Kohli had not even got a half century after his double ton against the West Indies in the first Test in Antigua. He had got some good deliveries after that in the West Indies and only in the second innings of the Kolkata Test did we get to see some fluency from his bat.Top players just need that little bit of confidence to get going and they also know that when the going is good then capitalise on it and get as many as you can to make up for the dry run days. Kohli's footwork was much better in Indore and he was either forward or back and crucially was not looking to play outside the off-stump too much. He showed admirable patience when Boult in particular bowled him some tempters angled outside the off-stump. He left them well alone and made the Kiwi bowlers bowl to the line that he wanted them to bowl than the line that they wanted him to play.
Rahane too showed great character as he took a bit of a beating on his body with some of the short pitched deliveries that the New Zealanders fired at him. There is no batsman born who always looks comfortable and at ease against the short pitched deliveries and the trick is to brave it out, wait for the bowlers to tire out and then score. Today the batsmen also don’t have to face more than two short pitchers in an over so they can plan their batting accordingly. A batsman can keep getting out to an outswinger or a leg-spinner but nobody will write much about that being a shortcoming but the moment a batsman gets out to a short ball immediately he is marked down as a batsman with a weakness against that. At the end of the day Rahane let his bat do the talking and finished just short of a double hundred.
The pitch is still playing well. There will certainly be more turn as the days go on but India’s bowlers will find that it won’t be as easy as it was in Kanpur and the Eden Gardens to get the ball to do what they wanted it to do.