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BCCI Staff in Mumbai 19 December 2013 - 03:37pm IST

Virat’s ton reminded me of Tendulkar: Donald

SA bowling coach was taken back in time to 1997 Cape Town

Virat Kohli’s century in the first innings of the Wanderers Test reminded many of the man who he was replacing as India’s No. 4 batsman. The biggest compliment came from someone who was involved in many duels with the man Virat has replaced. Former Proteas fast bowler and currently their bowling coach, Allan Donald was taken back in time to 1996-97 as he watched Virat play those glorious shots against the South Africans.

"He (Kohli) showed great discipline and responsibility,” Donald said. “It reminded me of Sachin Tendulkar when they came here in 1996. I was the first one to say back in 1996 that India didn't have much bottle. One person jumped out and played for the situation, played for his team, and that was Tendulkar. That's what came to my mind when I saw Kohli batting," Donald was referring to Tendulkar’s 169 at Cape Town in January 1997.

For Donald, the hallmark of Virat’s knock was the perfect balance between leaving the good balls and attacking the loose ones. "The way Kohli left the ball and when we were slightly off the line he punished the ball. He paced his innings very, very well. He put up his hand today and showed real fight; he was tight and didn't give much away until the end."

While praising the Indian centurion, the Proteas bowling mentor was critical of his own wards. "We were slightly wide and short, probably the widest I have seen outside the off-stump, because the ball was swinging,” he said, adding the match is still in balance. “But the game never really drifted away from us. They are five down, and I will take it.”

Donald credited the Indian batsmen for showing immense patience even as the fast bowlers charged in with the short-balls early in the innings. "It's a mixture of things, having India in trouble early on. Then, it became sloppy in patches as the day went on. India showed a lot of patience, and left the ball really well today. They also played Imran Tahir very well.

"They have learnt from past matches here, and also we needed to find the right areas with the ball. We could have done it better and it was a tough Test match cricket today," he said.

"I thought we stuck to our guns really well, and tomorrow we have to come and make a big play. We need to keep our eyes on the pitch, there are a few cracks. The second new ball has come at the right time, and tomorrow we have to come swinging, and there's no doubt about it," Donald said.