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Rahul, Kohli tons lead Indian reply

Skipper leads the way with fourth century of the series as visiting side reaches 342 for 5 at close on day three

Rahul, Kohli tons lead Indian reply - Cricket News
The firm of Rahul and Kohli wore down Australia’s bowlers for an entire session.
The Sydney Cricket Ground was bathed in a pink glow, not from the setting sun, but from the 28,167 that turned up to watch their team push forward and were treated to two centuries that exemplified all that is good about the Indian school of batsmanship. KL Rahul, from the old school, and Virat Kohli, whose effervescent approach occasionally seems like a satire of that method, kept Australia’s bowlers at bay as India reached 342 for 5 in reply to 572.
When the third day of the final Test began on Thursday (January 8), India was buried under a mountain of runs, the scoreboard applying the pressure that a track that was a touch too good for batting failed to. Rahul, who had a poor outing on debut in Melbourne, reverted to type. For those who have watched Rahul over the years, there were early signs of reassurance. Here was a young man who had built his game on the most old-fashioned tenets of good batsmanship: watching the ball closely, picking the length early, playing late.
As he rose through the ranks from junior cricket in Mangalore to Bangalore, the city of that other Rahul, KL, as he is known to his mates, stuck by his method, not succumbing to peer pressure. That he did so with such poise when he was a mere stripling and yet seemed to succumb after having made it to the highest level seemed utterly incongruous.
Normal service resumed on Thursday, as Australia’s bowlers strove as a pack to build pressure, trying to bankrupt India’s batting line-up by drying up the source of runs, rather than robbing them blind. Ryan Harris, master of misery, picked out a corridor outside the offstump and funneled the ball through with metronomic accuracy, and the other medium pacers picked up on his lead to follow suit.
Rohit Sharma added only 13 to his overnight score before under-edging a full ball from Nathan Lyon onto his stumps via a sweep shot.
If Rohit was profligate, Rahul was frugal, playing out as many as 83 dot balls in a first session where he played only 10 scoring shots. Having Kohli, the captain who reposed faith in him, would have helped Rahul no end. The utterly different ways in which the two picked off runs made the lives of the bowlers on display that much more different.
Kohli, master of the red Kookaburra at the moment, swaggered to the middle with 499 runs from three Tests as though there was another century with his name on it. Kohli’s batting is an exercise in burning passion, his every aggressive stroke a wholehearted, full-blooded expression of his desire for runs. In comparison, Rahul’s love for runs is almost platonic, a tender, gentle, warm affection where the ball is allowed to come to bat and is then coaxed this way or that.


The firm of Rahul and Kohli, with some support from Steve Smith who dropped a skier and later allowed a flying edge to burst through his hands at slip, wore down Australia’s bowlers for an entire session, protecting the partnership and adding 112 from 30 overs, earning themselves a refreshing cup of tea.
Just before the break, Rahul had guided Mitchell Starc sweetly through gully before letting out a roar of relief at having reached his century. While he had enjoyed a slice of luck, Rahul put a high price on his wicket all through his stay at the crease, which is why he was kicking himself, barely able to raise his bat to an appreciative crowd when he was hurried into a pull and dismissed for 110.
Kohli was unperturbed by the change of partner, plundering along in his merry way, a raspy cover drive off Lyon, wrists engaged to smother any extra turn or bounce off the rough, being the shot of the day by some distance. When Kohli got to his fourth hundred of the series, something no Indian has done in Australia before, he also became the first player in history to score centuries in each of his first three innings as captain.
Even as the Kohli flag was flying high, there was late trouble for India as Shane Watson, steaming in like a fast bowler and floating the ball in as though it were a caricature of the real thing, won an lbw shout against Ajinkya Rahane. Off the next ball, Suresh Raina poked outside off, edging low to Brad Haddin, who dived to scoop the ball up.
Wriddhiman Saha, in his first dig as permanent Test wicketkeeper, saw off the hat-trick ball and ensured that no further damage was done when stumps were drawn. Kohli, unbeaten on 140, towered over his peers, who will realise that this one man made the difference between a 0-4 result and what might eventually unfold. The Indians, still 230 behind, are not entirely safe, but at least they could walk off the field with heads held high.

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