Dec 28, 2014
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane‘s sparkling 262-run partnership helped India put up a good fight on Day Three of the third Test against Australia in Melbourne. Up against Australia’s score of 530, India ended the day on 462 for eight. Had India not lost wickets late in the day, they could have been in a position of command. Instead, they allowed Australia back in the game.
India began the day on 108 for one. Two balls into the day, Cheteshwar Pujara poked at one outside the off-stump and was caught behind. Murali Vijay added only 13 runs to his overnight score before he was also dismissed. That left India at 147 for three — a precarious position of sorts.
That is when Kohli and Rahane came together. Kohli had started positively as he drove anything full and pulled the short ones. Rahane’s approach was similar, albeit a little more attacking. Both batsmen moved along seamlessly and started dominating the attack. In a rush, both were past their fifties and were then nearing their tons. Rahane in fact overtook Kohli to get to his third Test ton. This is Rahane’s third ton in as many overseas tours, something that speaks well of his growth as a batsman.
Kohli got to his ninth Test ton, his fifth against Australia and his third on this tour. He also became the second Indian, after Sunil Gavaskar, to score three tons on a tour to Australia. He had a bit of luck though, as Shane Watson grassed a chance at first slip when he was in the 80s. Rahane was also lucky to survive a caught and bowled chance off Nathan Lyon when he was 70.
There was one moment when tempers flared a touch. Kohli played one back to Mitchell Johnson, who in turn threw it back towards the stumps. Kohli was getting back and was hit on the leg. There were a few words exchanged later in the over.
Kohli and Rahane continued to dominate after their runs and were scoring runs freely. Johnson bore the brunt of their aggression as they pulled across the line to counter the short deliveries. Both worked their way into the 140s, taking their partnership past 200. Eventually, it ended on 262 when Rahane was dismissed leg-before when he missed a sweep off Lyon.
That sparked a small collapse. KL Rahul was dropped by Peter Siddle at mid-wicket off Lyon and then tried to go over the top off the next ball. He top-edged it and was taken at short fine-leg. MS Dhoni struggled during his innings of 11 and was caught behind of Ryan Harris. Ravichandran Ashwin, who beamed confidence on Day Two when he claimed India would score 650, was out for a duck when he lobbed a catch back to Harris.
Kohli continued though in his zone and notched his 150, his first in Test cricket and sixth in First-Class. Kohli got out in the last over of the day as he edged to the wicketkeeper at 169. Brad Haddin took another great catch.
Australia 530 (Chris Rogers 57, Shane Watson 52, Steven Smith 192, Ryan Harris 74, Brad Haddin 55; Umesh Yadav 3 for 130, Mohammed Shami 4 for 138, Ravichandran Ashwin 3 for 134) lead India 462 for 8 (Murali Vijay 68, Virat Kohli 169, Ajinkya Rahane 147; Ryan Harris 4 for 69, Nathan Lyon 2 for 108) by 68 runs.