KL Rahul has equalled an all-time Test record by stroking his seventh consecutive half-century as India made a lighting start to the third Test against Sri Lanka.
Having equalled the Indian record of six consecutive scores of 50 or more by scoring 57 in Colombo last week, the right-hander made it seven in a row with a half-century on the opening morning in Pallekele on Saturday.
But the right-hander couldn't push on to three figures, caught at mid-on when he was just 12 runs short of a century.
Rahul joined an exclusive group of five other players - Sir Everton Weekes (WI), Andy Flower (Zim), Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI), Kumar Sangakkara (SL) and Chris Rogers (Aus) - to score 50 or more in seven consecutive Test innings.
He could now claim the record for himself with a half-century in his next innings.
Prior to the Sri Lanka series, Rahul scored five straight fifties in their series against Australia, and six in seven innings; he posted scores of 64 and 10 in Pune, 90 and 51 in Bengaluru, 67 in Ranchi and 60 and 51no in Dharamsala.
Much like Rogers, who scored seven straight fifties between 2014 and 2015, Rahul has been unable to convert any of his seven half-centuries into a hundred.
Rahul missed the first Test of the Sri Lanka series due to illness but his outstanding performances previously saw him force his way back into a competitive top order, displacing Abhinav Mukund as Shikhar Dhawan's opening partner.
And the pair made a brilliant start on Saturday, moving the score to 0-134 at lunch.
The 25-year-old had also undergone shoulder surgery following the Australia series.
"It is very important for us to make him feel that this is his spot," Kohli said of Rahul on the eve of the Colombo Test.
"And it won't be changed because of unfortunate events that happen outside of the playing field or the injuries that you can't control. (Through) that phase you have to come back, get stronger.
"He has really stuck it out in that phase. It's been hard for him, we all know that, because he was batting so well and then he was out because of this.
"It is very important to make him feel secure and he deserves it because he has given us those big performances when the team has required it the most.
"He is a guy who needs to be backed and we as a team, as management, and me as captain all back him 100 per cent."
Most consecutive 50-plus scores in Tests
- Sir Everton Weekes (WI) - 7
- Andy Flower (Zim) - 7
- Shivnarine Chanderpaul (WI) - 7
- Kumar Sangakkara (SL) - 7
- Chris Rogers (Aus) - 7
- KL Rahul (Ind) - 7