Australia in commanding position in Final Test
by Andy Jalil

Ground:Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
Scorecard:Australia v India
Player:V Kohli
Event:India in Australia 2011/12

DateLine: 26th January 2012


Andy Jalil - Cricket Writer and Commentator
Andy Jalil reporting from Australia © Pakistan Cricket


In association with The Rendezvous Hotel. Australia remain firmly in control of the fourth Test after India responded with a modest total of 272 to the opposition's colossal 604 for 7. The only feature of note in India's innings was an excellent maiden Test century by Virat Kohli who battled for four hours with little support as Australia fast bowlers gave little away. Despite a massive first innings lead the follow-on was not imposed and at stumps Australia in their second innings, on 50 for three, have an overall lead of 382.


With the pitch taking considerable turn, as seen from the bowling effort of spinner Ravi Ashwin who has two of the three wickets that the home side has lost, batting in the fourth innings sometime over the last two days does not bode well for India. With seven Australia wickets remaining it is inevitable India will be set a target which may well be beyond them.


India began the third day poorly losing three wickets in quick succession with the introduction into the attack of Peter Siddle who seems to strike early each time he comes on to bowl as seen in earlier Tests and again earlier in this innings. He replaced Ben Hilfenhaus and in his second over pitched one well up to Sachin Tendulkar and found the outside edge with the ball moving away a little. The batsman had added 13 to his overnight score of 12 and India were 78 for three after resuming on 61 for two.


Just nine runs later Siddle struck again with an excellent bouncer that seemed to move into Gautam Gambhir who could only lob catch to gully. Gambhir had scored only four from 38 balls in addition to his 30 runs overnight. With India's last pair of specialist batsmen in, VVS Laxman and Virat Kohli, spinner Nathan Lyon was brought on but it wasn't until his twelfth over that the fifth wicket fell. Laxman, on 18, tried to dab a ball to point and got a thin edge for a catch behind reducing India to 111 for five.


Kohli went on to form a good stand with Wriddhiman Saha, playing in only his second Test match. It turned out to be an excellent century partnership with Saha giving good support to Kohli and playing some fine shots. Kohli followed his score of 44 and 75 in the previous Test with another superb innings. His half century came from 109 balls when he pulled Ben Hilfenhaus for his fifth boundary.


Saha played more freely as his innings progressed and hit a huge six from a slog/sweep off Lyon. The next six was hit by Kohli over midwicket which took him to 71 when Michael Clarke put himself on to bowl. He even tried Michael Hussey for a few overs to try and break the stand but both batsmen played with great determination. Kohli followed his six hit with a four driven through extra cover off Lyon and that took India to 200 for five.


Australia took the second new ball as soon as it was due and needed just fifteen overs with it to bring an end to the India innings. It was in the fifth over and on the stroke of tea that the resistance came to an end. Saha, having played a responsible innings, showed a lack of judgement in shouldering arms to a ball from Ryan Harris which came in late to hit the off stump. His 35 runs had come in two-and-a-quarter hour and had helped to add 114 for the sixth wicket. Kohli by then had progressed to 91.


India then lost the next two wickets on 230, with Siddle trapping Ashwin lbw and then having Zaheer Khan caught behind on the first ball. Ishant Sharma, however, gave enough support to Kohli who had seemed in danger of running out of partners. A lovely drive to extra cover off Harris for his eighth boundary took him to 95. He then ran two's to cover and mid-on but on 99 and anxious for a single to reach three figures he nearly ran himself out but managed to scramble back. He didn't have to wait for long though, the next ball he faced took him to 101 and his obvious delight after facing 199 balls.


Hilfenhaus finally brought an end to the innings. He bowled Sharma on 16 and in his next over Kohli, on 116 from 213 balls, was lbw. It had been an excellent effort during which Kohli showed his battling qualities with the odds weighing heavily against his side. Siddle's brilliant fast bowling gave him five for 49 and Hilfenhaus had three for 62.


Kohli said: "Finally when I got the hundred I was on cloud nine because when you are starting cricket as a young kid you always dream of achieving Test centuries and the first one is always more special so I am really happy. I always wanted to be a successful Test cricketer for India and hopefully this can be the start for me." Asked about India's chances of saving the match, he said: "We are actually thinking the other way (to win). If we get two or three wickets early in the morning, last time (last tour) Australia in Adelaide scored 400 on the first day, the ball is turning square now and with Ashwin bowling we still have two days to try and chase down the score they set up for us."

(Article: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author only.
Copyright © 2012 Andy Jalil)