Sydney Test Match: Rahul, Kohli tons stud Indian reply


January 8, 2015

Brief Scorecard: India 5 for 342 (Kohli 140*, Rahul 110, Rohit 53) trail Australia 7 for 572 dec by 230 runs

January 8, 2015

Brief Scorecard: India 5 for 342 (Kohli 140*, Rahul 110, Rohit 53) trail Australia 7 for 572 dec by 230 runs

Kohli carried on after Rahul's dismissal on 110 as India ended a day they could call theirs, if only marginally.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA: Virat Kohli's golden summer with the bat continued as he brought up his fourth century of the series on Thursday (January 8) to take India into stumps on the third day of the final Test in Sydney at 342 for 5, still trailing Australia by 230 runs.

Kohli was unbeaten on 140 and had Wriddhiman Saha (14) for company as India overcame a stutter in the middle not long after KL Rahul was dismissed following his maiden Test century. Kohli and Saha shared an unbroken sixth-wicket stand of 50 in 15 overs to cap off a day India could call theirs, if only marginally.

As the afternoon wore on, Kohli not just kept the scoreboard tickling along, but also had statisticians crunching numbers. Kohli became the first player in Test history to score three centuries in his first three innings as captain. Apart from surpassing Rahul Dravid's record (619 runs) for most runs by an Indian in a series in Australia, it was also Kohli’s seventh Test ton overseas.

When he walked off to the applause of the Indians in the crowd and the dressing room at the end of a long day, Kohli had hit 20 fours in his 214-ball vigil. The knock had all the ingredients a Kohli century has come to be associated with – power, timing, nonchalance, disdain, aggression and of course flair and flamboyance.

If the second half of the day was all about Kohli, the first half belonged to Rahul, who made up for a forgettable debut in Melbourne with a knock of poise and class. Along the way, he also had the rub of the green as Steve Smith offered him a reprieve on 46 when he put down an attempted pull shot running backward from first slip.

But the manner in which Rahul left the ball and took his time early on to dig in and make it count was admirable. India scored just 50 runs in the first session when they resumed on 71 for 1, and Rahul was largely circumspect, even as Rohit Sharma played a couple of airy strokes to get to his half-century. Rahul and Rohit had batted a little beyond the drinks interval before a pre-determined sweep off Nathan Lyon consumed Rohit for 53.

Rahul, though, was unfazed and the dropped chance only further increased his resolve to bed down and make the opportunity count. That he batted alongside Kohli for most parts of his innings took a great deal of pressure off him even as Kohli took off like a bullet train right from the outset.

Rahul moved into the 90s with a huge six off Lyon and then brought up the magical milestone with a punch behind point off Mitchell Starc. Just when it looked like the pressure was off, however, came a stroke that proved to be his undoing in Melbourne too. A pull that he tried to fetch from way outside off lobbed off the top edge and Starc took a comfortable return catch.

With the 141-run stand disturbed, Australia attacked with fresh vigour. Shane Watson, who built pressure without much luck, had a lucky break when he trapped Ajinkya Rahane (13) lbw. Rahane was into the pull early as the ball kept a touch low to hit him high on the pad. Replays suggested the ball could have missed the stumps on height. Suresh Raina's comeback to Test cricket lasted exactly one ball as a tentative poke resulted in Brad Haddin diving low to his left to complete a good catch.

In the bat of an eyelid, it was a comeback gone horribly wrong as India were on shaky ground at 292 for 5. Fortunately for them, Saha showed some grit to battle his way through to stumps as Australia lumbered off after a day of toil on a placid SCG track.

Courtesy: Wisden India