A session which was almost going India’s way was pulled back slightly by Australia towards the end when they removed centurion Virat Kohli, who failed to get enough distance on a pull off Mitchell Johnson’s delivery.
Both Kohli and his partner Ajinkya Rahane commenced on a fluent note in the final session of the day’s play and didn’t shy away from playing their shots. There was some purchase for Lyon right through, but not enough pressure from the other end helped the duo ease into control.
While Rahane missed on a well-deserved hundred, Kohli, with the way he was batting, missed a chance of a possible double.
Skipper’s leading act
Kohli hit his second hundred on Australian soil, and in the process became the third ever Indian to hit a hundred on captaincy debut. He now has a stat he could be proud of – more hundreds than Rahul Dravid in Australia.
The stand-in skipper was driving the ball well and his urgency for quick singles was heartening. The feet were moving well and it seemed it was Kohli’s day and he played a chanceless knock before trying one shot too many towards the fag end. He didn’t connect a pull shot well enough and found Ryan Harris in the deep.
If there was one skipper doing the job with the bat, there was another who was busy marshalling, rotating his resources to keep the hosts interested during the contest. Michael Clarke rotated his bowlers, tried all possible field combinations and even asked Steve Smith to roll his arm when Rahane and Kohli were motoring along.
The results, for most part of the day, didn’t go in his favour but the skipper won’t be that disappointed with the effort. That too after most of the batsmen got their eye in. Kohli’s wicket would definitely pop their tails up when they take field on Day 4.
While Johnson picked two important wickets, he also went for plenty of runs in the process. There were moments of brilliance and fire in his spell, but overall it was a below-par effort from the speedster.
Is the Phillip Hughes incident affecting him? Possible as he was not too keen on the short ball after rattling Kohli with a nasty bouncer. There was some fire against Saha towards the end, but it was too late in the day.
A quick look at the statistics reveals that he conceded 12 boundaries – the most by an Australian bowler. On occasions he would drift on the pads, offer a lot of width and even dish out gentle looseners in the process. If Australia are to make a contest out of this Test, it is important that the speedster leads from the front.
Much like he did towards the end…