There have been very few cricketers in the last decade who have been as prolific with the bat in hand as Virat Kohli. The former Indian captain, who bid adieu from Test captaincy duties in January, continues to wait for that elusive three-figure mark, which has evaded him for nearly 3 years., but every Virat Kohli Test centuries remain memorable.
However, the last three years do not paint a fair reflection of what has been a remarkable career, especially in the longest format, and does not indicate the legacy of Kohli’s record. Virat Kohli made his Test debut in 2011 against West Indies, shortly after India’s ICC World Cup 2011 triumph. It took him a few months to reach his first three-figure score but when he did, he did it in some style.
In an otherwise lost cause in Adelaide, where Michael Clarke and Ricky Ponting tormented the Indians with a double-ton each, Kohli’s maiden Test century remained rather insignificant. However, the panache of the batter was palpable, the aggression was tangible, a cricketer shooting for the stars had a sniper in his hand in the form of a bat, and more often than not, he hit the bullseye.
A decade later, Kohli snapped up 27 centuries in the longest format of the game, to go with 43 in ODIs. Only Sachin Tendulkar has more international centuries than India’s greatest ever Test captain. Besides the ongoing one, he only had one other infamous dry spell in his career as a batter, which came during the 2014 tour of England, where he failed to register a single 50+ score in an innings.
There have been spells of unreal dominance, where he would go and snap up centuries and double centuries as easily as picking up groceries in a supermarket. As it stands, he has 8,043 runs in 101 Test matches, making him the 6th highest run-scorer in this format among Indians.
Commemorating the incredible success Kohli tasted in international cricket, let’s take a look at his most successful years in the format.
(Virat Kohli has played a Test match in 12 different calendar years, and has not scored a century in four of them – 2011, 2020, 2021, 2022)
Virat Kohli Test centuries: Full List
|103||v New Zealand||Bengaluru|
|119||v South Africa||Johannesburg|
|105*||v New Zealand||Wellington|
|103||v Sri Lanka||Galle|
|200||v West Indies||North Sound|
|211||v New Zealand||Indore|
|204||v Bangladesh||Hyderabad (Deccan)|
|103*||v Sri Lanka||Galle|
|104*||v Sri Lanka||Kolkata|
|213||v Sri Lanka||Nagpur|
|243||v Sri Lanka||Delhi|
|153||v South Africa||Centurion|
|139||v West Indies||Rajkot|
|254*||v South Africa||Pune|
Kohli’s maiden Test hundred was against Australia at Adelaide in 2012, and he has gone on to add 27 more Test centuries in the format since then, and his last hundred came in 2019 at Eden Gardens.
Virat Kohli Test centuries: By Year
Virat Kohli in 2017 – 5 centuries
2017 proved to be one of the most fruitful campaigns in the 33-year-old’s career, where he registered 5 scores of 100 or more. In his first knock of the calendar year in Hyderabad, he blasted a sensational double century against Bangladesh. He had a forgettable series with the bat against Australia, but found his rhythm in Sri Lanka, where he scored a century in Galle.
When Sri Lanka came to visit India a month later, he scored a valiant century in the second innings at the Eden Gardens. The Indian skipper then unleashed the inner-beat, and scored back-to-back double centuries in Nagpur and Delhi. He made 213 runs in 267 deliveries in Nagpur, and registered his second-best score in Test cricket at his home town, smashing 243 runs in 287 balls.
This was the second time in his career where he registered three double tons in the same calendar year.
Matches – 10 | Runs – 1059 | Average – 75.64 | 100s – 5 | 50s – 1 | Best – 243
Virat Kohli in 2018 – 5 centuries
The right-handed batter participated in 13 Test matches in the following year, and amassed as many centuries as he did in 2017. Although he did register bigger numbers in 2017, his important and most centuries came in 2018, with four of them coming in the SENA countries.
It all began with a magnificent 153 against South Africa at their fortress, the Centurion. He fought like a lone-soldier against a stringent Proteas pace battery, who did not allow any other batters to settle in, and also could not stop Kohli. Although India went on to lose that Test match, it remains as one of his finest knocks in Indian whites.
India then travelled to England for the first time since Kohli had his forgettable outing, and the then-Indian captain wrote his “Remontada” with golden letters. His first three-figure score against the red ball in England came in Birmingham, and followed with a 97 and 103 in Nottingham.
He backed up his century against West Indies in Rajkot with an iconic three-figure score in Perth towards the end of that year. Despite India losing that Test match, he made 123 runs in 257 cherries, which took his century tally in Australia to 5.
Matches – 13 | Runs – 1322 | Average – 55.08 | 100s – 5 | 50s – 5 | Best – 153
Virat Kohli in 2014 – 4 centuries
In a year where he had his first horrible run as a Test cricketer, Virat Kohli redeemed himself with performances of a lifetime in Australia. This was also the first calendar in Indian cricket without Sachin Tendulkar since 1988.
2014 began on a memorable note with a half-century in Auckland and a stupendous second-innings ton in Wellington, a game remembered for Brendon McCullum’s staggering triple century.
After the disappointment in England, he was ever-so desperate for redemption when he stepped on to the Aussie shores in December 2014. He surprisingly made his Test captaincy debut in the first Test in Adelaide, where we saw perhaps the greatest performance by an Indian batter in a losing cause.
He scored a century in each innings of his Test captaincy debut, becoming the first-ever cricketer to do so. He announced his approach to Test cricket by going hell for leather to chase down an improbable target and despite falling short, he made his presence felt.
His fourth ton came on Boxing Day in front of a packed house at the MCG. In MS Dhoni’s final Test match, Kohli chipped with a 169 off 272 deliveries, a knock that ensured India avoided defeat for the first time in Australia since the 2007/08 tour.
Matches – 10 | Runs – 847 | Average – 44.57 | 100s – 4 | 50s – 2 | Best – 169
Virat Kohli in 2016 – 4 centuries
Kohli did not feature in a Test match in 2016 until July, but when he finally did, he got the first double century of his career, little did people know that he was going to make a habit of it. Having toiled 283 deliveries in Antigua for this achievement, he got there rather more comfortably against New Zealand in Indore a few months later.
Batting first in incredible batting conditions, Kohli made the Kiwis sweat with his nonchalance and delivered his second double ton, getting 211 runs in 366 balls. For the only time in his career, he beat his own highest score for the third time in one calendar year when he faced England in Mumbai.
After England had posted a big total batting first, Kohli scored perhaps the best of his seven double centuries, scoring a major chunk of those runs alongside Jayant Yadav. He finished with a staggering 235 in 340 balls, and that helped India surpass the English dominance with ease.
Matches – 12 | Runs – 1215 | Average – 75.93 | 100s – 4 | 50s – 2 | Best – 235
Virat Kohli in 2012 – 3 centuries
When Virat Kohli starts enjoying a landmark, he tries to get there as often as he can in a short space of time. Having scored his maiden Test ton in Adelaide earlier in 2012, Virat Kohli came out to bat under critical circumstances against New Zealand in Bengaluru at the Chinnaswamy stadium, and scored a majestic second ton by stitching crucial stands alongside Suresh Raina and MS Dhoni.
He chipped in with another fifty in the second innings, helping his side complete a tricky run-chase in double-quick time. His third century in 2012 came in a disappointing cause, but the effort from the young Indian batter was valiant enough to instil a great deal of confidence among Indian fans.
India went into the Nagpur Test against England trailing 2-1, and despite stitching a memorable stand alongside MS Dhoni and getting a sturdy 103 in 295 balls, the hosts could only draw the Test and surrendered a 2-1 defeat on home soil. It was the last defeat at home by the Kohli led Indian team.
Matches – 9 | Runs – 689 | Average – 49.21 | 100s – 3 | 50s – 3 | Best – 116
Virat Kohli centuries: By Opponents
|v Sri Lanka||5||766||243||5|
|v South Africa||3||526||254*||3|
|v New Zealand||3||419||211||3|
|v West Indies||2||339||200||2|
Virat Kohli has performed against the best countries consistently and has made seven Test hundreds against Australia, followed by five each against England and Sri Lanka. His highest Test score of 254* was against South Africa at home, against whom he has three Test teams for the Indian team. He also has three Test centuries against New Zealand, and he went on to score twin hundreds each against West Indies and Bangladesh. His last international hundred came against Bangladesh in 2019. His biggest success story was his batting against James Anderson in 2018 after struggling against him in 2014.
When was Virat Kohli’s last century in Test international cricket?
Virat Kohli last scored a Test century against Bangladesh during the Day/Night Test match at Eden Gardens in 2019, when he made 136
How many Virat Kohli Test centuries in winning cause are there?
The player from Royal Challengers Bangalore Kohli has made 13 hundreds in wins, while seven have come in losses and another seven were scored in draws.