King Kohli continues to torment as Finch rues inability to kick on

In numbers

  • 40Centuries (Sachin Tendulkar [49] is only batsman to have scored more)
  • 7Centuries v Australia (Tendulkar [9] is the only batsman to have scored more)
  • 59.73Batting average (The best of any player to have featured in more than 33 matches)

Described as the greatest one-day player of all time by Aaron Finch on the eve of the current ODI series, Virat Kohli is certainly living up to the title.

Kohli delivered the 40th ODI century of his career – and seventh in the format against Australia – to earn man-of-the-match honours during India's eight-run victory in Nagpur.

King Kohli: The skipper dominated in India’s most recent win over Australia.Credit:AP

The captain's knock of 116 was incredibly impressive given the two-paced pitch produced a low-scoring contest, with Marcus Stoinis (52) the only other batsman to pass 50.

It was also leadership personified; the indomitable run glutton was at the crease for 248 of the 250 runs that his team scored.

Kohli now averages an outrageous 59.73 in ODIs, the best effort by any player to have featured in more than 33 matches.

Pat Cummins, who dismissed Kohli in the 48th over and has tried so hard to unsettle the batting maestro in recent months, admitted the right-hander was the difference.

"He just played really good shots. I think for the most part we bowled quite well to him," Cummins said.

"He is someone who just looks in complete command of his game … he's got so much time.

"If someone bowls well, he's happy to wait on them and cash in later. He doesn't miss out on too many bad balls. Really good innings."

Kohli offered just one chance, a run-out opportunity that Glenn Maxwell missed when the gifted batsman was on 86, before picking out Stoinis in the deep while searching for an 11th boundary.

The only time the superstar lost composure on Tuesday was when a pitch invader came a little too close for comfort at the start of Australia's innings.

"It felt good [to post a 40th ODI hundred] but it's just a number. It feels good to win games for India," Kohli said in the post-match ceremony, adding he was exhausted.

"When I walk in to bat, when the situation gets difficult, I have no choice but to put my head down and bat through the innings."

In contrast, Finch, desperate to lead from the front on the current tour of India and this year's World Cup, has now played 21 consecutive white-ball innings for his country without reaching 50.

Those numbers remain stark but coach Justin Langer has made it clear he will be patient as Finch seeks to end a slump that is far from ideal for the World Cup starts in less than three months.

Under pressure: Aaron Finch in in the middle of a scoring drought.Credit:AP

And while Finch's own performance in Nagpur was not his most productive, there were some promising signs for the under-pressure Australian skipper.

On Tuesday's evidence, which came a day after Finch had some one-on-one time with Langer in the nets prior to the squad's training session, a breakthrough innings may not be far away.

"Not enough [runs]. It would have been nice to kick on. It was OK to get a start but starts don't win you games," Finch, who spent 59 minutes at the crease, said in the post-match ceremony.

There were glimpses of Finch's best during his highest ODI score since November 9, when he was named man of the match in a low-scoring thriller against South Africa that Australia won to end their worst losing streak in the 50-over format.

Australia's loss ensures the skipper, described as "mentally gone" by former selector Mark Waugh last week, will remain under the microscope but Cummins was full of praise.

"He's such a class player. His record is great in ODI cricket, so runs were always going to come," Cummins said.


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