Adelaide, December 17
Virat Kohli’s enduring love affair with Adelaide Oval suffered an unfortunate breach at the hands of his vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane, denting India’s hope of a big first innings total on the first day of the series-opening Day/Night Test against Australia. India finished the day at 233/6 after Kohli’s dismissal for 74 following a misjudgement by Rahane led to a collapse as India lost three wickets for 18 runs.
Kohli, who looked in complete command, was run out when Rahane called for a single and backed out at the last moment, leaving the captain stranded. It happened just before the second new ball was taken, and from a comfortable 188/3, India slumped to 206/6 as Rahane and Hanuma Vihari (16) found the pace and swing under the lights too much to handle. Ravichandran Ashwin (15) and Wriddhiman Saha (9) saw off the final few overs and also got some useful runs.
In conditions that can’t be called batting-friendly, Kohli blended the right amount of caution and aggression in his 180-ball innings, showing why he is considered heads and shoulders above his peers. If Cheteshwar Pujara (43 off 160 balls) let the bowlers dictate terms with an ultra-defensive approach, his skipper gave the opposition the respect it deserved but also played his strokes to drive home a point.
Kohli’s 88-run partnership with Rahane (42 off 91 balls) during the final session nearly put India on an even keel but the scales tilted in Australia’s favour at Kohli’s dismissal. Kohli’s knock would rank among his best as he took control of the situation after a bad start, coming in at 32/2. He dealt well with the short ball, and his pull shots were excellent — he hit three kinds of them off the pacers, two off Starc and one off Josh Hazlewood, rolling his wrists to keep the ball down. There were other attractive shots in his innings, including his classical cover-drives.
Earlier, Pujara’s ultra-defensive approach became his own undoing as India literally crawled during the first two sessions. Pujara was intent on defence, and his 68-run stand for the third wicket with Kohli couldn’t release the pressure on the team.
Pujara took 148 balls to strike his first four, hitting it in the day’s 48th over after coming to bat in the first over. It was a battle of attrition between Pujara and star spinner Nathan Lyon in the post-dinner session, making for a fascinating hour’s viewing. But Pujara lost out when he edged an off-break to his pad, and the ball popped up for Marnus Labuschagne at leg-gully to complete the catch.
In the morning, Prithvi Shaw’s poor technique was again exposed by Starc while Mayank Agarwal (17) got a beauty from Pat Cummins. Shaw fell off the match’s second ball when he went for an expansive drive off Starc, playing away from his body, and dragged the ball into stumps. Agarwal, who lived dangerously, was removed by Cummins with a fast ball that moved off the track and found the gap between bat and pad. — TNS, Agencies
Kohli wicket massive
It was massive. A wicket like that, run out, especially of Virat is massive. It was good to be back on board after the Ashes. He was batting pretty well, so happy with that.
Battle with Kohli and Pujara
It was good fun, good conversations there but battle there is against the best players of the world. On a Day 1 wicket, it was a great challenge. They (Kohli and Pujara) are different in style and approach, batting against spin bowling. Nathan Lyon
Crawl at Adelaide
41 runs scored by India in the first session, followed by 66 in the second
148 balls taken by Cheteshwar Pujara to strike his first four, in the day’s 48th over
21 maiden overs bowled by Australia, out of 89 overs they bowled in the day
72.14 is Virat Kohli’s batting average at Adelaide Oval in 7 innings — with knocks of 116, 22, 115, 141, 3, 34, 74
19.60 is Prithvi Shaw’s batting average outside India, in 5 innings. His average in India, in 3 innings, is 118.50
INDIA 1st innings
P Shaw b Starc 0
M Agarwal b Cummins 17
C Pujara c Labuschagne b Lyon 43
V Kohli run out 74
A Rahane lbw b Starc 42
H Vihari lbw b Hazlewood 16
W Saha not out 9
R Ashwin not out 15
Extras: (b 2, lb 7, nb 7, w 1) 17
Total: (6 wickets, 89 overs) 233
FOW: 1-0, 2-32, 3-100, 4-188, 5-196, 6-206
Bowling O M R W
Mitchell Starc 19 4 49 2
Josh Hazlewood 20 6 47 1
Pat Cummins 19 7 42 1
Cameron Green 9 2 15 0
Nathan Lyon 21 2 68 1
Marnus Labuschagne 1 0 3 0