Perth: Skipper Virat Kohli (82 batting, 181b, 9×4) played a pivotal role with a workmanlike innings, lifting India from a double blow at the beginning of innings to stabilise things at 172 for three in the second Test against Australia here Saturday.
Kohli’s unbeaten knock coupled with Ajinkya Rahane’s (51 batting, 103b, 6×4, 1×6) counterattacking half century helped India not only to overcome the cheap dismissals of Murali Vijay (0) and KL Rahul (2), but also put the visitors in a position from where they will look to dominate the rest of the game.
India captain stitched a 90-run unbroken partnership with Rahane at the stumps on the second day, the stand coming after he added 74 with Adelaide hero Cheteshwar Pujara (24) for the third wicket.
This was after Australia’s tail wagged to add 49 runs to their overnight total to finish at 326. India trailed by 154 runs.
Post tea, Kohli and Pujara (24) batted in much the same manner as they did in the previous session. Their pace of scoring was slow, but they batted with assurance until Mitchell Starc (2/42) provided the breakthrough.
It came seven overs after the tea break as Pujara glanced a delivery down leg only to be caught behind, as his 74-run partnership with Kohli for the third wicket came to an end.
Rahane then joined Kohli in the middle, and initially he faced some issues getting used to the pace and bounce off the pitch. Unlike Pujara though, he took the bowling head on and counter-attacked with two boundaries and a six.
It set the pace for his partnership with Kohli, who was solid at the other end, and grinding down the Australian attack. The Kohli-Rahane pair cut down on the risks even more, only occasionally coming forth to play their shots. They avoided any further damage to the Indian innings.
Earlier, Kohli and Pujara had seen India to 70 for two at tea. Post lunch, India were immediately under the pump as Josh Hazlewood (1/50) knocked over KL Rahul (2) in the third over after resumption of play.
It brought Kohli and Pujara together at the crease, and the duo concentrated on defence in order to push back the Australian attack.
Earlier, India were placed at six for one at lunch with Starc bowling Vijay for a 12-ball duck. This was after Ishant Sharma’s (4-41) spell helped the visitors bowl Australia out for 326 runs in their first innings.
Starting from overnight 277/6, Australia added 49 runs to their total for the loss of four wickets. Tim Paine (38) and Pat Cummins (19) frustrated Indian bowling and enhanced their eighth wicket partnership to 59 runs.
Brief scores: Australia 326 (Tim Paine 38; Ishant Sharma 4/41); India 172/3 (Virat Kohli 82 batting, Ajinkya Rahen 51 batting). Match to continue.