Dhaka, Bangladesh
Kohli rejuvenates India on attritional day

Kohli rejuvenates India on attritional day

PERTH, Dec 15: "It's a week where I'd be happy to be a bowler," quipped Michael Hussey at the pitch report ahead of Day 2 at Perth. There was little reason to disbelieve the former Australian batsman - after all, the opening day had plenty to show why batsmen will tread carefully at the Optus Stadium, reports Cricbuzz. On Day 2, however, India batted with great application and determination to make the Australian bowlers toil hard on a slightly cooler day at Perth. The resistance from India came from their middle order - with Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane all playing important knocks to take the visitors to a promising 172/3 at Stumps. It was a day that could have gone horribly wrong for India. But twice they fought hard to claw back into the game. The first came just after the opening hour. Australia saw themselves cross the 300-run mark,resuming on 277/6, unscathed in the first hour. But India got back by getting the last four wickets for 16 runs, with Ishant adding two more wickets to end with his best figures (4-41) in Australia. With a solid score behind their backs, Australia rattled India's top order in no time. Murali Vijay and KL Rahul fell either side of the Lunch break, bowled by Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood respectively. Australia's plans were very apparent. They had learnt from India's mistakes in the first hour, and the pacers constantly pitched the ball up and targeted the stumps. Late movement, thanks to the fuller length and the new ball, helped them get rid of the openers within the first 31 balls of the innings. Kohli walked in to join Pujara with India in deep trouble. And with Australia bowling it much fuller, he got the half volleys to put away to the fence early in his innings. Two straight drives and a clip off Hazlewood helped him race to 19 off just 12 balls, and India scored 30 runs in the 29 balls following Rahul's dismissal. Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon came on in order to stifle the Indian run flow, and the pair succeeded in doing so. The Indian pair too was happy to buckle down having gotten their eye in and a few runs under their belts. Kohli was content leaving everything outside off stump, although Hazlewood once drew him into a false stroke with a wide delivery, while Lyon got one to turn big and just bounce over the off stump with Kohli leaving. Pujara had far fewer alarms, he used his feet well to Lyon - using them to defend as well as score against the off spinner, while the pacers were treated with respect unless they erred in line or length. The Kohli-Pujara combine added 74 runs, hardly going for any rash shots. Australia shifted their focus to bowling short at the Indian batsmen, and eventually saw some luck going their way. Pujara could only edge a tickle down leg, and Paine gleefully accepted the chance. The right-hander was out for 24, but had played as many as 103 balls in the process. The pitch too was devoid of most the demons it was supposed to unleash on the batsmen. The cooler weather and the slight bursts of rain meant the pitch too had softened a little and made it a tad easier. Ajinkya Rahane may have Rahul Dravid's signature on his bat, but he unleashed his inner Virender Sehwag to counter Australia's short ball theory. The pull, upper cut and the cuts all came out, even if not all were in convincing fashion, as India sought a quick recovery after Pujara's wicket. Australia's bowlers could not be faulted for effort. Starc kept revving up the pace, Hazlewood would often draw the wrong shot, while Lyon and Cummins were unwavering with their accuracy. India could only score at less than 2.5 runs per over, which underlines Australia's discipline even though the pitch did them little favour on the day. That discipline enabled them to still be in the game despite taking only three wickets in the day. They are still 154 runs to the good, and considering India's lack of experience in the lower middle order and the long tail, they will know that a good wicket-taking spell could put them right back on top. For India, it was a day of hard grit. Kohli ended the day at 82, even hitting Pat Cummins, the bowler who troubled him the most, for a sumptuous cover drive late in the day, while Rahane, who notched up his 17th Test fifty soon after hitting Hazlewood for two back-to-back boundaries, ends on an impressive 51 not out. Onto the moving day then. Until then, not all, especially the Aussie bowlers, will agree with Hussey's comment at the pitch report. BRIEF SCORES: Australia 326 vs India 172.3 (Virat Kohli 82*, Ajinkya Rahane 51*, Mitchell Starc 2-42).

Share |