Millennium Post

Kohli bounces back in style

Kohli bounces back in style
A ton from Virat Kohli (115), his seventh, and three 50s from Cheteshwar Pujara (73), Ajinkya Rahane (62) and Murali Vijay (53) helped India coast to 369 for five at the end of the third day of the first Test at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday. Australia earlier declared their first innings at the overnight score of 517 for seven.

Indian stand-in skipper Virat and co. rose to the challenge and gave a perfect reply to Australia, who decided to make full use of the early morning conditions by having a crack at the young Indian batting line-up. Rohit Sharma (batting 33) and Wriddhiman Saha (batting 1) were at the crease at the close of the third day’s play. The visitors are still trailing by 148 runs in their first innings.

Apart from Kohli, several Indian batsmen did not make most of their good starts and after scoring fifties they failed to notch up a big score. Kohli first shared an 81-run partnership for the second wicket with Pujara before stitching together another crucial 101-run stand with Rahane. Rohit Sharma too supported the Delhi batsman well and the duo forged a 74-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

After opener Vijay’s wicket, Kohli was welcomed with a high-rising bouncer by left-arm pacer Johnson. The ball hit Kohli on his head and it rattled both the batsman and the opposition, who are coming off a grief-stricken two weeks after the death of team-mate Phillip Hughes.

However, an aggressive Virat, unflustered by the bouncer, took the attack to the opposition and came out with a classy knock. Relying on his quick feet movement, he collected runs all around the park on his way to his first hundred in his maiden match as captain. His knock - laced with 12 boundaries - ended when he top edged a Johnson bouncer to Ryan Harris at deep fine leg at the fag end of the day. Earlier, Indian openers started cautiously. They showed a lot of patience and didn’t score in the first two overs bowled by pacers Johnson and Harris. Left-hander Dhawan started the calculated onslaught in the third over, spanking left-arm pacer Johnson for three boundaries through
leg side and followed it up with another cracking cut in his next over.

Vijay was watchful and defended solidly against the testing line and length persisted by right-arm pacer Harris. He took 19 deliveries to get off the mark with a punch through mid-off that fetched him three runs.

However, Dhawan lost his wicket, dragging a Harris delivery on to his stumps as he tried to drive a ball on the up. As new batsman Pujara walked in, the team scoreboard read 30 for one in 7.4 overs. The Saurashtra batsman took time to settle and judged the pace and bounce well before accelerating.

Vijay and Pujara shared an 81-run partnership for the second wicket before Australia skipper Michael Clarke brought in Johnson, whose away moving delivery was guided by Vijay to the wicketkeeper Brad Haddin.

Briefscores India 369/5 (Kohli 115, Rahane 62, Vijay 53, Pujara 73; Johnson 2/90, Lyon 2/103) trail Australia 517/7d (Smith 162) by 148 runs.
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