It was just another vintage plan laid down for Virat Kohli on the first afternoon of the second Test at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch as Tim Southee reaped the rewards to inflict more misery on the Indian skipper.
In the opener in Wellington, Kohli was set with an array of short balls from debutant Kyle Jamieson before he dished out that length ball that swung away from the batsman luring Kohli out for the cover drive. In the second innings, the 31-year-old was dismissed by the relentless short-ball strategy from Trent Boult from around the wicket. But at the Hagley Oval, Southee executed the classic plan, one that Vernon Philander had laid down for Kohli in the 2018 tour.
In the nine deliveries that Southee bowled to Kohli before lunch, he teased him in the wide channel outside off while mixing the length between good and full. Kohli remained unfazed by those tempting deliveries as he negated all those nine balls.
On returning after the long lunch break, Southee delivered the sucker ball.
It wasn't much of a testing delivery, just a gentle outswinger on a fullish length that came from an angle over the wicket. Kohli leaned forward with his head falling to the off side while the bat looked to play the shot towards mid-on. But he missed the mark by a mile as the ball struck his pads in line with the off stump.
Kohli, hesitantly and hoping for an umpire's call, went for a DRS review after discussion with Cheteshwar Pujara. But there was never a doubt with that dismissal. The giant screen displayed the three reds and Kohli made his way back to pavilion with three off 15 as his century-less run now extended to 21.
This was for the tenth time that Southee has dismissed Kohli in international cricket - thrice in Tests, six times in ODIs and once in T20Is. This is also the most a bowler has dismissed Kohli across formats as Southee extended his tally. Moreover, Kohli became the second batsman to be dismissed ten times by Southee after Sri Lanka's Dimuth Karunaratne
Meanwhile, for Kohli, he added more misery to Ajinlkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara as he wasted India's second review leaving the remaining two and the lower half of the lineup relying on umpire's call to survive. In fact, since 2016, off the 14 DRS referrals that Kohli made, nine have stuck down, three were umpire's call and two were overturned. The last time he had a successful review was in Kolkata against Sri Lanka in 2017/18.
Kohli has been struggling with the bat since his 136 in Kolkata last November against Bangladesh. In the 21 innings he played across format since his 70th international century, Kohli has failed to reach another triple-figure mark. And in this tour, he has managed just 204 runs with only one half-century, his worst since 254 in his 2014 horror England tour.
"I am absolutely fine, I am batting really well. I feel that sometimes that scores don't reflect the way you are batting," Kohli had said after India's defeat in the first Test.
"I know the chat on the outside changes with one inning, but I don't think like that. If I thought about people on the outside, I would be outside right now."