Cricket: Kohli lets his bat do the talking but India still trail in Perth

Cricket: Kohli lets his bat do the talking but India still trail in Perth

Virat Kohli masterfully notched his 25th century on the third morning of the second test on Sunday but fell on the stroke of lunch to leave India at 252 for seven and well short of Australia's first innings tally.

India's captain Virat Kohli raises his bat after scoring his half century on day two of the se
India's captain Virat Kohli raises his bat after scoring his half century on day two of the second test match between Australia and India at Perth Stadium in Perth, Australia, December 15, 2018. AAP/Dave Hunt/via REUTERS

PERTH: Virat Kohli masterfully notched his 25th century on the third morning of the second test on Sunday but fell on the stroke of lunch to leave India at 252 for seven and well short of Australia's first innings tally.

Mohammed Shami followed his captain back to the pavilion for a golden duck to bring up the break, leaving Rishabh Pant unbeaten on 14 with Ishant Sharma ready to join him looking to ease a bit closer to Australia's competitive total of 326.

The session belonged to the peerless Kohli, whose brilliant innings of 123 came to an end when he edged Pat Cummins to a forward-diving Peter Handscomb at second slip.

Whether Handscomb got his fingers under the ball will be a matter of debate for days to come but the onfield official's soft signal was out and the third umpire did not reverse the decision on review.

Kohli had reached his 25th test century in style with a flowing off-drive to the boundary then placed his helmet on the ground, pointed to his bat and made a yapping gesture with his gloved hand.

It was his sixth century in Australia, which matches the tally of the great Sachin Tendulkar, and ended a drought against Australia with just 83 runs in his past seven test innings against them.

Kohli showed no lasting ill-effects from an earlier injury scare when he was struck on the forearm by a searing Mitchell Starc bouncer and required treatment.

Australia, desperate to level the series after narrowly losing the series-opener in Adelaide, bowled with occasional venom on the grassy wicket, and struck blows late in the session to bookend a perfect start.

India's hopes overnight seemingly rested on leaders Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane but the India vice-captain fell fourth ball of the day for 51, sharply snared by wicketkeeper Tim Paine off Nathan Lyon.

There was an expectation that Australia’s attack would run through India's unproven middle-lower order but Hanuma Vihari combined in a 50-run partnership with his skipper.

Starc peppered Vihari with a barrage of short-pitched bowling, with the inexperienced all-rounder barely surviving the onslaught on several nerve-jangling occasions. The 25-year-old, playing his second test, was almost run out by Travis Head on 16 before falling four runs later when he was caught behind off Josh Hazlewood.

(Editing by Nick Mulvenney)

Source: Reuters

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