Virat Kohli stands tall amid wreckage on Day 1 at Perth
David Warner’s record ton stole the show on a day when Royal Challengers Bangalore batsman Virat Kohli put in his best effort of the series at the WACA ground in Perth.
Kohli top scored with 44 hard earned runs in India’s first innings total of 161 while Warner’s unbeaten 104 off just 80 deliveries helped Australia post 149/0 in just 23 overs on Day 1 of the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy being played at Perth.
After winning the toss Michael Clarke decided to put India in to bat first, looking to exploit the conditions and a very helpful, green tinged pitch. His move paid off, Sehwag, Dravid and Tendulkar going out cheap and Gambhir wasting the start he got as India crumbled to 63/4 before Lunch. Hilfenhaus was the wrecker in chief, accounting for both Sehwag and Gambhir.
Kohli and Laxman then stitched a scrappy 68 run partnership for the fifth wicket, keeping the Australian attack at bay for almost an entire session. The two were highly selective in playing shorts, batting with a grim determination to not concede any advantage to the bowlers. Kohli still progressed at a good rate, going for the clips on the leg side once he felt settled but defending most deliveries in line with the off stump and just outside off. With just minutes to go for Tea, he reached out to drive a short of a length delivery and it flew to the hands of David Warner at point. VVS Laxman departed in Siddle’s next over, a similar ball taking the outside edge of his bat on its way to the slip cordon. After Kohli’s dismissal for 44 off 81 balls and Laxman’s for 31 off 86, India reached Tea at 138/6.
Dhoni and Zaheer tried to attack when play resumed but were dismissed soon as Hilfenhaus (4/43) returned to torment the batsmen with his late outswing. Mitchell Starc accounted for the Indian debutant Vinay Kumar with a superb ball coming in to the right hander after pitching straight from over the wicket and also removed Ishant to wrap up India’s first innings at 161.
Only 23 overs were left in the day but David Warner made sure they were productive, bringing Australia within 12 runs of India’s first innings total in the short period. Warner took a particular liking to Vinay Kumar who replaced R Ashwin in the team as India went for an all pace four man bowling attack. Warner tore into an indifferent bowling attack to bring up his second Test century off just 69 balls, the joint fourth fastest ton in Tests. He ended the day on 104* with thirteen fours and three sixes. Ed Cowan added in a brisk unbeaten 40 off 58, content giving Warner the strike and enjoying the display from the non striker’s end.
With Australia just 12 runs behind with all wickets in hand overnight on Day 1, India will need a miracle to save them in this Test, a miracle that might just occur if Zaheer fires and Kohli repeats his assuring display from the first innings.