On a cool day at Perth, the Indian batters, led by Virat Kohli made hay, showing application and determination to end the day at a promising 172 for 3 at stumps.
After the early fall of Murali Vijay and KL Rahul, the middle-order resisted once again after Adelaide to make life miserable for the Aussie bowlers.
The day began with Australia resuming their innings at 277 for 6. The first wicket yielded no wickets for India and just when it was assumed that the tail would take the game away once again, the quicks came back strongly to scalp four wickets for 16 runs, with Ishant ending the first innings with 4 wickets – his highest in an innings in Australia.
With a daunting 300+ score, the Aussie bowlers began on a good note as they sent back the openers in quick succession. The trio of Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc were keen to pitch the ball up and constantly targeted the wickets. With some late movement with the new ball, the Aussie seamers looked threatening and it was up to the Man of the Match in Adelaide Cheteshwar Pujara and India’s saviour Virat Kohli to get the innings back on track.
The Indian skipper got a few fuller length balls and half volleys early on in the innings, which he pushed away towards the boundary. Straight drives and a clip off Hazlewood ensured a good start for him as he raced away to 19 off just 12. However, the pair struggled to put on runs when Nathan Lyon was introduced into the attack, but the batters were more than happy to buckle down and defend everything that came their way.
The duo added 74 runs for the third wicket, without looking to play any loose shots. From bowling fuller, the Aussies looked to bowl shorter just after tea and the ploy worked as they got Pujara soon after. He was dismissed for 24 but not before playing 103 deliveries and biding away his time.
The next batsman in, Ajinkya Rahane unleashed his attacking mode to counter the short bowling. He showed his array of pulls, cuts and upper cuts regularly and did not let the bowlers settle in. The Indians are still trailing by 154 runs, and considering that they have a long tail, the runs that the two players pile up on Sunday will go a long way in determining the course of the match.
Brief Scores: Australia 326 vs India 172.3 (Virat Kohli 82*, Ajinkya Rahane 51*, Mitchell Starc 2-42)