Kohli makes ton after helmet scare

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Published: Thursday 11th December 2014 by The News Editor

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India captain Virat Kohli recovered from being hit on the helmet by the first ball he faced to underpin India’s decent response to Australia’s strong first-innings total in Adelaide.

Kohli’s impressive 184-ball innings of 115 on day three propelled the tourists to 369 for five at stumps after Australia declared on 517 for seven before the start of play.

There was a heart-in-mouth moment when he first arrived at the crease though, with Mitchell Johnson’s short-pitched delivery hitting him full-on in the helmet.

With much of Australia still coming to terms with the death of Phillip Hughes from similar circumstances, there was genuine concern as the hosts surrounded the Indian skipper to check he was not hurt, while captain Michael Clarke comforted Johnson.

But Kohli was fine and ensured his side have a fighting chance going into day four by building key partnerships of 81, 101 and 74 with Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma respectively.

With the sun shining once more after Wednesday’s interruptions, Australia declared their innings before the start of play.

In the third over of the day, Shikhar Dhawan, on one, survived a dropped chance when he got an inside edge off Johnson, although it was a tough one as Brad Haddin dived for the ball only to see it slip through his grasp.

Dhawan stuck around to help India score at a decent rate, but was nevertheless the first man out for 25, another inside edge off Ryan Harris needing no further assistance this time as it went straight on to his stumps.

Murali Vijay had made a tentative start at the other end, but after taking eight off a loose over from Peter Siddle, he began to open up, and he ended the 20th over with a six and a four off consecutive balls from Nathan Lyon.

He would hit Lyon for six again but soon after reaching his half-century he fell victim to Johnson, playing at a delivery which swung away from him and helping it into the gloves of Haddin to go for 53.

That brought Kohli to the middle and before he could set about a fine afternoon’s work there was the tense moment of Johnson’s delivery hitting his helmet as he ducked late.

Once Kohli was given chance to settle, he and Pujara got to work before Lyon broke their third-wicket stand with a good delivery which caused Pujara to hesitate before a tentative prod merely helped it through on to the stumps.

Lyon continued to put India under pressure, in particular asking lots of questions of the new man in Rahane, who was subject to one big shout for lbw – replays showed an inside edge – and then offered a half-chance to short leg, with the ball just falling short.

From the first ball after tea, Kohli brought up his first Test fifty in 11 innings, a great way to show how he is handling the extra responsibility of captaining the side for the first time.

At the other end, Rahane was nearing a half-century of his own, but still offering chances. A big pull shot from a Siddle bouncer went high but Lyon, racing in from the boundary, could not stretch for the catch and instead it ran for four.

Rahane would make it past 50, but with the new ball looming, Lyon stepped up his attack.

Australia claimed the catch when David Warner twisted acrobatically at short leg, but the ball had come off the pad. But from the next delivery, Rahane gloved it to the slips where Shane Watson hung on to remove him for 62.

With Sharma in at the other end, Kohli brought up his century in style by punishing Mitchell Marsh’s poor delivery to claim his 12th and final four of the day over the mid-wicket boundary.

They kept India ticking over before Johnson made the key breakthrough for the hosts in the 95th over, taking Kohli’s wicket with a bouncer that the India captain could only send into the palms of Ryan Harris at deep fine leg.

Stumps came two overs later with Sharma, unbeaten on 33, and Wriddhiman Saha, one not out, at the crease with India trailing by 148 runs.

Published: Thursday 11th December 2014 by The News Editor

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