Hosts Australia were in a commanding position at stumps on the fourth day of the Perth Test as India were reeling with five down for just 112 in the chase of 287. The Australians were bowled out for 243 in their second innings on Monday, but the target proved too daunting for the visitors.
India got off to a poor start as Lokesh Rahul’s string of low score continued. The right-handed batsman got for a duck on the fourth ball of India’s second innings by Mitchell Starc. Cheteshwar Pujara (4) too couldn’t stay long as Josh Hazelwood got him caught behind with scorecard reading just 13 just before the tea break.
Kohli, who slammed 123 in the first innings, combined with opener Murali Vijay to steady India’s ship before he edged a straight Nathan Lyon delivery to Usman Khawaja at slip for 17. Khawaja bowled Vijay for 20 off an inside edge in the next over itself. India vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane combined well with Hanuma Vihari but fell just before stumps, departing for 30.
Earlier in the day, Tim Paine and Khawaja, who reached his 14th Test half-century off 156 balls, continued their overnight fifth wicket from 132/4 as the hosts reached 190/4 at lunch. However, Mohammad Shami took career-best figures of 6/56 bringing the visitors back after a wicket-less morning session. However, Australia collapsed quickly as they lost five wickets for 15 runs in just eight overs with Shami, who was on hat-trick for the second consecutive Test but missed out, taking 4/26 in seven overs after Lunch.
Captain Tim Paine became the first victim of the day as he departed for 37 after gloving to the Indian skipper at the second slip. Later, Shami claimed a crucial wicket of Usman Khawaja (72) with a sharp rising delivery to pick his fourth five-wicket haul in Test cricket. Mitchell Starc (14) and Josh Hazlewood (17 not out) frustrated the Indian team, adding 36 runs for the tenth wicket, taking the lead past 280.
The match saw some heated moments between the Kohli and Paine who were caught on the stump mic having a verbal exchange when the latter was batting. Umpire Chris Gaffaney had to step in to ask the duo to get on with the game.
Australia had scored 326 runs in their first innings, and India replied with 283 runs, thus conceding a lead of 43 runs. India lead the four-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs.