Perth: Captain Virat Kohli scored a masterful 25th hundred and helped India to 252 for seven at lunch on day three of the third Test against Australia here Sunday.
The Indian skipper scored 123 runs, facing 257 balls, inclusive of 13 fours and a six, the first hundred in Perth since Sachin Tendulkar’s effort back in 1992 (114 at WACA Ground).
Thanks to his efforts, India now only trail by 74 runs. At lunch, Rishabh Pant was batting on 14 not out with Ishant Sharma yet to face a ball as India lost three wickets for 29 runs in the second hour of play this morning.
From overnight 172 for three, India made a torrid start to the day as Ajinkya Rahane (51) was caught behind off Nathan Lyon (2-50) on the fourth ball of the first over. The ball didn’t turn as much as he anticipated and only managed to edge it behind.
India had added only one run at that moment, which put an end to the 91-run partnership between Kohli and Rahane for the fourth wicket.
Hanuma Vihari (20) though was up to the task of batting out the next passage of play, as he put on 50 runs with the skipper for the fifth wicket.
He soaked up pressure at one end, even if not scoring too many runs, while Kohli went about his business at the other end as India garnered 42 runs in the first hour of play despite Rahane’s early wicket.
In doing so, Kohli took India past 200 in the 80th over, and then reached his hundred off 214 balls. It was his sixth Test hundred on Australian soil, and he became the second-quickest batsman in Test history to score 25 Test hundreds (in 127 innings) after Sir Donald Bradman’s 68 innings.
This was also his 34th hundred as Indian skipper across formats, second only to Ricky Ponting’s 41 centuries as Australian captain.
The celebrations though were cut short as Australia used the second new ball to good effect with Vihari caught behind off Josh Hazlewood (2-66) in the 86th over.
Pant then joined his captain in the middle, and played an uncharacteristic innings unlike Adelaide, adding 18 runs for the sixth wicket as India crossed 250 and started closing the gap on Australia’s first innings’ total of 326.
But Kohli fell before lunch, edging Pat Cummins (1-54) to second slip where Peter Handscomb just got his fingers under the ball. TV replays were not sufficient enough to overturn the on-field umpire’s soft signal of dismissal.
The visitors lost another wicket in this short passage as Mohammed Shami (0), again batting ahead of Ishant, edged Lyon behind first ball.
India had won the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs to take a 1-0 lead in the four-match series. (PTI)
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