Cricket: Australia edge ahead of India in second test at Perth

  • 17/12/2018

Virat Kohli's classy century, debated dismissal and haughty histrionics have shifted momentum on a drama-packed third day of the second test in Perth, where Australia hold a 175-run lead, after finishing at 132/4.      

Kohli was in the thick of things from go to whoa on Sunday, when Aaron Finch retired hurt with a finger injury. 

The superstar, who marched to the crease on Saturday with India in deep trouble at 8/2, outclassed Australia's star-studded attack in a composed knock of 123 to help India post a first-innings total of 283.              

Australia lost 4/61 in the final session, before Usman Khawaja and Tim Paine, unbeaten on 41 and eight respectively, thwarted the prospect of a more dramatic collapse.      

Captains Kohli and Paine swapped terse words at the end of play, after starting their spat in the final over of play, when India went up for a caught-behind appeal, then opted against reviewing.

A fired-up Kohli rode the highs and lows emotively, while encouraging Indian teammates and fans in equal measure, passionately gesturing, appealing, celebrating and double-teapotting.                  

Kohli appeared to welcome Peter Handscomb with a few words. Handscomb's lbw dismissal to Ishant Sharma prompted commentator Shane Warne to raise forthright questions about his place in Australia's XI.

India captain Virat Kohli.
India captain Virat Kohli. Photo credit: AAP

Earlier, third umpire Nigel Llong agonised over every angle of Handscomb's slips catch to see whether Kohli's edge had carried.

Llong eventually decided there wasn't conclusive evidence to overturn the on-field soft signal and reprieve Kohli, who clearly thought otherwise, as he trudged off the field without acknowledging the crowd.              

Moving day lived up to its reputation at Optus Stadium, where a total of 11 wickets fell, as Kohli, Finch, Khawaja and Marcus Harris all copped jarring blows of various severity.           

Finch was sent for scans, after being struck on the right glove by a rearing Mohammed Shami delivery.  

Harris, hit on the helmet while attempting to evade a 142.5 km/h ball from Jasprit Bumrah, was cleared to continue batting. He will continue to be assessed for signs of concussion.

Kohli didn't flinch when struck on the left elbow by Mitchell Starc.           

The stoic skipper brought up the 25th ton of his test career - and record-equalling sixth in Australia - with a sweetly timed straight drive off Mitchell Starc's second delivery with the second new ball.

A low-key celebration, in which Kohli seemingly made the point that his bat had done all the talking, was a clear statement of intent, as he hunted a first-innings lead and victory that would ensure his team retained the Border-Gavaskar trophy.               

The century was Kohli's second-slowest in a test, coming from 214 balls.           

AAP