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Captain Kohli's ton inspires Team India's strong reply

Source: PTI
Last updated on: December 11, 2014 13:56 IST
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India captain Virat Kohli celebrates on completing his century on Thursday

India captain Virat Kohli celebrates on completing his century, on Day 3 of the first Test in Adelaide, on Thursday.Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

Virat Kohli became only the third Indian to score a hundred on captaincy debut as the visitors responded resolutely to Australia's mammoth first innings total by posting 369 for 5 on the third day to leave the first Test evenly poised at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday.

- Scorecard

- Aussies rattled after Kohli hit by bouncer

Kohli, standing in for injured regular captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, followed in the footsteps of Vijay Hazare and Sunil Gavaskar to score a hundred on debut as Test skipper.

The 26-year-old's seventh ton in the five-day format ended at 115 when he was dismissed by Mitchell Johnson off a short-pitched delivery just before stumps. His attempted pull landed in the hands of Ryan Harrism at deep fine legm in the 95th over of the day.

At draw of stumps, Wriddhimaan Saha (1) was unbeaten with Rohit Sharma, who batted fluently for his 33 off 66 balls.

The resolute effort by the Indians, undone to an extent by Kohli's late dismissal, came after the Australians declared their first innings at the overnight score of 517 for 7.

On a sunny day, which started early to make up for the four hours of play lost on Wednesday due to rain, the Indians dominated the proceedings for most part before Kohli's wicket swung the equations slightly in Australia's favour.

Earlier in the morning, opener Shikhar Dhawan (25) departed in the eighth over but the rest of the top-order fired in unison to put India in a comfortable position on a placid track.

It started with Murali Vijay (53) notching his seventh Test half century in the pre-lunch session, followed by Cheteshwar Pujara (73) sailing to his sixth in the pre-tea session, and ended with Kohli's inspiring knock.

In between, Ajinkya Rahane (62) also posted his fifth Test fifty as the Australian bowlers toiled just the way their Indian counterparts had to on the first two days of the match.

Pacer Mitchell Johnson bent his back to send down a couple of probing spells but wickets were hard to come by. The most menacing of all the Aussie pacers on the day, he ended the day with figures of 2-90 in 18 overs, Kohli's wicket being his most crucial strike.

Spinner Nathan Lyon also picked two wickets for his toil of 30 overs in which he conceded 103 runs.

India still trail Australia by 148 runs in the first innings.

After being provided a steady start by the openers, Kohli shook off the first-ball bouncer by Johnson that hit his helmet but ended up rattling the Australians, still grieving the death of Phillip Hughes whose life was cut short by a short-pitched delivery that hit the back of his head.

India's captain put on 81 runs for the third wicket with Pujara (73 runs, 135 balls, 9 fours). He added 101 runs for the fourth wicket with Rahane (62 runs, 76 balls, 10 fours) and another 74 runs for the fifth wicket with Rohit.

For Australia, Ryan Harris (1-49) was the other wicket-taker. Peter Siddle (0-62) was hit by a stomach bug and left the field, while Mitchell Marsh (0-29), Shane Watson (0-13) and Steve Smith (0-19) also went wicketless.

After tea, Kohli and Rahane looked to avoid any further damage to the Indian innings, particularly as the new ball was due and the follow-on mark was still away.

The latter was especially scratchy after the break, struggling at times against both pace and spin. But he played some beautiful shots to make up for it and scored at a brisk pace to reach his fifth Test fifty off just 61 balls.

Kohli too crossed the half-century mark and the two batted fluently, scoring at more than five runs per over. Their 100-run partnership came off 151 balls in the 75th over and just when it looked like India had two set batsmen for the second new ball, disaster struck.

Lyon bowled an absolute ripper and Rahane gloved it to Watson at first slip, the batsman clueless about the extra bounce and turn on that delivery.

 Murali Vijay of India hits a six on Day 3 of the first Test at Adelaide Oval on Thursday

Murali Vijay hits a six. Photograph: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

It brought Rohit to the crease and he maintained his calm as Australia took the new ball.

Kohli took the lead in scoring thereafter and got to his hundred in the 85th over of the innings. He faced 158 balls and hit 12 fours in doing so.

Three overs later, the 50-run partnership followed as India crossed the 350-run mark in the 89th over, runs still flowing at more than five-per-over.

Kohli then fell just when the day's end was in sight, pulling Johnson to fine leg, where Harris held a fine catch.

Saha then survived a dangerous spell from the tearaway bowler to avoid any further loss.

Earlier, in the post-lunch session, Pujara scored his sixth Test fifty in the 37th over, only his second half-century in the last 17 Test innings.

He faced 96 balls in doing so and hit six boundaries. With Kohli, he scored runs quickly and their 50-run stand for the third wicket came up off only 54 deliveries.

But then Lyon, who had been hit out of the attack by Vijay (53 runs, 88 balls, 3 fours, 2 sixes) before lunch, returned and bowled a brilliant probing spell to the two set batsmen.

Kohli looked more comfortable against the spinner but Pujara was circumspect throughout.

That doubt-ridden innings against the spinner ended with Pujara being bowled in the 50th over as he defended the ball but left enough gap for it to break the stumps. It brought Rahane to the crease and he survived a probing spell by Johnson before tea, as India crossed the 200-run mark in the 56th over.

Coverage: India's tour of Australia

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