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Ton-up Kohli, Rahul steady ship

Ton-up Kohli, Rahul steady ship
Centuries from Lokesh Rahul (110) and Virat Kohli (batting 140) held the Indian innings together, ending the third day’s play at 342 for five, still trailing Australia by 230 runs in the fourth and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) on Thursday.

Resuming at 71 for one, India put on 271 runs in 90 overs on the third day but a couple of wickets in the last session put them in a sticky situation. Kohli and company will need to grind it out in the first couple of hours Friday if they are to get close to Australia’s mammoth first innings total of 572 for seven declared. Some tight bowling in the morning helped Australia restrict India to score only 51 runs in 30 overs in the first session of play. The visitors started cautiously but made sure they did not lose wickets.

Rohit Sharma (53) scored some runs as he reached his first half-century of the series. However, immediately after reaching fifty he attempted a sweep off the bowling of spinner Nathan Lyon, only to misjudge the ball and be castled.

However, thereon Kohli and Rahul struck a vital 141-run third wicket partnership which steadied the ship for India. Coming out post-lunch at 122 for two, the second session entirely belonged to India as the visitors scored 112 runs in 30 overs without losing a single wicket.

Rahul, 22, scored his maiden century in only his second Test after a disastrous debut in Melbourne where he had scores of 1 and 3. However, he rose from that failure and played a patient yet composed innings to reach his century in 253 balls. His knock was highlighted by 12 boundaries and one splendid six over deep mid-wicket.

The Bangalore boy heaved a sigh of relief after reaching his century and became a little loose with his shots. This had an immediate impact as he top edged a bouncer soon after tea only to be caught and bowled by Mitchell Starc (2/77).

In the meantime, Kohli solidified his innings to score his fourth century of the series and 10th of his career. His innings of 140 not out, laden with 20 boundaries, also broke the record for most runs by an Indian in a series Down Under, going past the ever-reliable Rahul Dravid’s 619 runs scored in 2003-04 series. In the process, the Delhi lad also became the first ever player to score three tons in the first three innings as a skipper.

Just when it looked like India could end the day strongly, Shane Watson (2/42) clinched Ajinkya Rahane (13) and Suresh Raina (0) on successive deliveries to bring Australia right back in front.

Scoreboard


Australia (first innings): 572/7 decl

India (first innings) overnight 71/1

Murali Vijay c Haddin b Starc 0, Lokesh Rahul c & b Starc 110, Rohit Sharma b Lyon 53, Virat Kohli batting 140, Ajinkya Rahane lbw b Watson 13, Suresh Raina c Haddin b Watson 0, Wriddhiman Saha batting 14; Extras (b 1, lb 6, w 1, nb 4) 12; Total (for five wickets in 115 overs) 342; Fall of wickets 1-0 (Vijay, 0.3 overs), 2-97 (Sharma, 43.4), 3-238 (Rahul, 86.6), 4-292 (Rahane, 99.4), 5-292 (Raina, 99.5); Bowling Mitchell Starc 21-4-77-2, Ryan Harris 23-6-63-0, Josh Hazlewood 20-5-45-0, Nathan Lyon 32-7-91-1, Shane Watson 15-4-42-2, Steven Smith 4-0-17-0

Stat-attack day 3

Virat Kohli recorded his 10th century in Tests, his sixth against Australia. He became the first batsman to post three hundreds in consecutive innings as captain (115 & 141 at Adelaide, 140 not out at Sydney). He became the third skipper to register three hundreds in a Test series against Australia, the first two were David Gower and Brian Lara.

Virat Kohli and Lokesh Rahul’s 141-run stand is an Indian record for the third wicket against Australia at SCG, surpassing the 138 (unbroken) between Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid in 2003-04.

Kohli’s Test record as captain is outstanding, his aggregate being 396 in three innings at 198.00. He became the third batsman to post four centuries in a Test series against Australia in Australia. Heerbert Sutcliffe had recorded four in five Tests in 1924-25 and Wally Hammond four in five Tests in 1928-29.

Rohit Sharma (53) recorded his maiden fifty against Australia in Tests, surpassing the 43 he made at Adelaide in December 2014. He has two tons (both against West Indies) and two fifties (1 each against New Zealand, Australia) to his credit.

Suresh Raina recorded his second, seventh overall, duck against Australia, his first golden duck in Tests.

Kohli’s aggregate is an Indian record in a Test series against Australia and the fourth highest by an Indian player behind Sunil Gavaskar, 774 (ave.154.80) vs West Indies in 1970-71; 732 (ave.91.50) vs West Indies in 1978-79 and Dilip Sardesai, 642 (ave.80.25) in five Tests vs West Indies in 1970-71.

Four hundreds each by Steven Smith and Virat Kohli is the first instance when two batsmen have registered four hundreds in the same rubber.

Kohli became the second Indian batsman to post four hundreds in a Test series. Sunil Gavaskar had recorded the distinction twice, both times against West Indies (four in four Tests in his debut rubber in 1970-71 and four in six Tests in India in 1978-79).
IANS

IANS

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