Virat Kohli stands out on even day

Virat KohliIndia's Virat Kohli jumps to celebrate his century during the first day of their cricket Test match against South Africa at Wanderers stadium in Johannesburg, South Africa (AP)

Virat Kohli gave ample display of his class by cracking a fluent 119 as a gritty India produced a decent batting show on the opening day to leave the first cricket Test against South Africa evenly poised.

The 25-year-old Kohli, batting at the coveted number 4 position left vacant by retired batting icon Sachin Tendulkar, notched up his fifth Test century to steer the visitors to a comfortable 255 for five at close on a bouncy Wanderers track.

Ajinkya Rahane (43 batting) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (17 batting) were at the crease on an eventful opening day which saw the beleaguered Indian batting line-up giving a good account of themselves despite their only warm-up game being abandoned due to a wet outfield.

Kohli stole the thunder on the first day as he displayed wonderful counter-attacking ability with dazzling array of strokes all round the wicket after openers Shikhar Dhawan (13) and Murali Vijay (6) were dismissed cheaply by Dale Steyn (1/56) and Morne Morkel (1/27) within 15.1 overs.

Kohli, India's premier batsman, hit 18 sweetly timed boundaries in his 181-ball knock with the standout shot being a pull off the fast and furious Steyn. He played some flowing drives, played the square cut well and was severe on leg-spinner Imran Tahir, who was repeatedly pulled towards the deep mid-wicket boundary.

His shot selection was admirable as he was ready to leave a lot of deliveries but didn't forget to punish the loose balls.

Kohli reached his fifth Test hundred when he played off-break bowler Jean-Paul Duminy's delivery towards mid-wicket for a couple before celebrating the milestone with a leap and punch of his fists in the air.

As he took charge of taking on the Proteas attack, he was well complemented by Cheteshwar Pujara (25) during their 89-run third wicket stand before he was unfortunately run-out due to a horrible mix-up.

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