India 369-5 after Australia declares on 517-7 in 1st test
ADELAIDE, Australia (AP) — A century by stand-in captain Virat Kohli and three half centuries lifted India to 369-5 at stumps Thursday on the third day of the first test, leaving them 148 adrift of Austalia who declared overnight at 517-7.
Kohli made 115, batting most of the last two sessions of an extended day’s play, sharing partnerships of 81 with Cheteshwar Pujara (73), 101 with Ajinkya Rahane (62) and 74 with Rohit Sharma (33 not out) to steer India towards parity in a match impeded by Wednesday’s rain.
He was out fewer than four overs from the end of the day on which bowlers mostly labored on a pitch at the Adelaide Oval which is taking turn but is probably too batsman-friendly to produce a result without bold declarations.
Kohli was also involved in an incident Thursday which reflected cricket’s new mood since the recent death of Australia test batsman Phillip Hughes.
The first ball Kohli faced Thursday, just before lunch, was pitched short by Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson, awkwardly followed his evasive movement and crashed into the front of his helmet.
Before the death of Hughes, from injuries suffered when he was struck by a bouncer in a domestic match on Nov. 25, Johnson and the Australian fieldsmen might have celebrated such a delivery.
Instead, they rushed to Kohli to ensure he was unhurt and Australia captain Michael Clarke consoled Johnson, recognizing his distress.
Kohli suffered no injury and went on to notch his seventh test century in 224 minutes, from 158 balls with 12 fours.
He anchored India’s innings for the better part of the day, then conceded his wicket wastefully near stumps, hooking a ball from Johnson to Ryan Harris at fine leg.
Although spinner Nathan Lyon found both turn and bounce, taking 2-103 from 30 overs, and helped to curb India’s scoring rate after a brisk first session, captain Michael Clarke took the new ball as soon as it was due after the 80th over.
In doing so he showed his faith in fast bowlers Harris and Johnson who toiled hard throughout the third day on a bare pitch which offered little movement from the seam and only regular bounce.
Harris returned to test cricket in this match after an eight months injury layoff and captured the first Indian wicket to fall, dismissing Shikhar Dhawan for 25 off 24 balls.
Harris ended his first spell with 1-6 from five overs and he yielded runs only grudgingly as the day went on.
Johnson struggled to find his length early, conceding 34 runs in his first five overs but tightened up later, using the short ball sparingly and often deceiving batsmen with fuller and slower deliveries. He ended the day with 2-90, dismissing Murali Vijay for 53.
Lyon often found turn in the footmarks outside the right hander’s off stump, and used turn and bounce to removed Pujara for 73 with a ball which hit the batsman on the body and bat before falling back onto the stumps.
Lyon made even more effective use of the conditions with the ball that removed Rahane for 62, finding a sharp bounce which took the batsman on the glove and ballooned to Shane Watson at slip.