Virat Kohli moved slowly but steadily towards a seventh Test century against Australia on day two of the second Test in Perth.
Australia added 51 runs to their overnight score of 277-6, skipper Tim Paine the eight wicket to fall with his side’s score on 310 after scoring 38 off 89 balls.
Ishant Sharma was superb all innings, returning figures of 20.3-7-41-4 (econ 2.00) in a masterful display of bowling that was excellently back up by Jasprit Bumrah (2-53, econ 2.03), who was equally challenging for the batters. Umesh Yadav and the recalled Hanuma Vihari (playing in only his second Test) each picked up two wickets as Australia’s innings was wrapped up for 326.
Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc made immediate headway with the ball, Hazlewood bowling Murali Vijay for a 12-ball duck and Starc bowling KL Rahul (2) to peg India back to 2-8.
First Test hero Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli added 74 for the third wicket before Pujara fell caught behind by Paine off Starc after yet another patient innings. Pujara’s 24 came off 103 balls with just one four as he helped his captain to build a foundation for the Indian innings.
Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane then partnered up in a slow but steady unbroken stand of 90 to guide India to a good position at 172-3 at the close of day two. Kohli ended the day on 82 not out with his sights set on a seventh Test century against Australia, while Ajinkya Rahane is on 51 not out, having previously scored just one century against the Aussies.
Starc was excellent value in taking 2-43 (econ 3.00), with Hazlewood (1-50, econ 3.12), Pat Cummins (0-40, econ 2.35) and Nathan Lyon (0-34, econ 1.54) all toiling hard in the heat of Perth.
India have seven second innings wickets in hand and trail Australia by 154 runs on the first innings to set up what could be an enthralling day as the Indian batters look to overhaul Australia’s total. As the pitch starts to weather, however, the Aussie bowlers could well start to pose problems for India as they look to protect their first innings lead.
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