Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane plundered runs late on Saturday to give the Indian second innings a solid foundation on of Day 2 of their second Test against Australia at the Perth stadium. When they take the field on Sunday, Kohli and Rahane will be continuing an overnight partnership of 90 runs off 184 balls. The pair, and Cheteshwar Pujara before them, staved away a determined post-lunch onslaught by the Australian bowlers. India ended the day on 172/3, trailing Australia by 154 runs with six wickets in hand.
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood ratted out the Indian openers with a pair of unplayable deliveries. That happened within the first six overs – Murali Vijay’s wicket fell at the stroke of Lunch – but after that, Kohli and Pujara started the resistance.
The Indian captain took Hazlewood on a ride before slowing down to deal with Pat Cummins and Nathan Lyon. While Kohli kept the scoreboard ticking, Pujara held the fort at the other end. By the time he was dismissed by Starc, Pujara had scored 24 runs and, more importantly, faced 103 deliveries.
Rahane then came in and took the pressure off Kohli by racing past the 30-run mark at almost a run-a-ball. He accounted for the only six of the match thus far which he hit off Starc. Kohli kept rotating the strike and brought up his half-century. The Australian pacers kept bowling short to Rahane but he answered fire with fire.
According to Cricviz, the Indian vice-captain scored at a rate of 7.12 off short deliveries, distributing the runs between boundaries and strike rotations. He reached his second consecutive half-century in the latter overs of the day, the period in which both batsmen played a series of photogenic shots to squeeze the runs out of a tiring Australian attack. Kohli and Rahane pushed their partnership within 10 runs of the century-mark at the end of day’s play.
In the first session, India paid the price of not starting the day with Jasprit Bumrah. Australia captain Tim Paine and Pat Cummins dug in and ticked away the runs off Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami. The pair put up 59 for the seventh wicket. It was a change of bowlers that brought dividends with Umesh Yadav breaking the partnership by dismissing Cummins. Jasprit Bumrah got Paine in the next over. It didn’t take long after that for India to clean up the Australian tail.