Victory in Kohli crawl
DURING the first innings of the first Test, India’s top order tried to bat like Virat Kohli.
Yesterday, Kohli tried to bat like the admirable brick with pads, Cheteshwar Pujara.
Australia is losing the war but winning the Kohli battle by forcing the master to change his game.
Never has he scored at a slower rate in an innings of 30 or more. Australia got him in the end, caught at short leg off Nathan Lyon, for a slow-fused 34.
In so many ways it was a totally unspectacular innings which will soon vanish into the mist of time. Yet it shows how desperate Kohli is to become the first Indian captain to win a series against Australia in Australia.
The man who reached 1000 runs in Tests in Australia in fewer innings than Don Bradman put away his fancy cape and donned the blue overalls. He may have used the drive only sparingly yesterday, but was still a driven man.
The impact of Kohli’s dismissal was such that within seconds of his dismissal Australia’s odds were shaved from $10 to $5.
If India bats far beyond lunch today, Australia may be back at $10 again.
This may be an old-fashioned, slow-fused Test match, but it is a fascinating struggle between two teams who have so much to prove.
India is without doubt the number one team in the world, but the players crave to prove themselves overseas.
In South Africa and England this year they shook and rattled their world-class opposition but just could not land the killer blow, going down 2-1 in South Africa and 4-1 in England. With just three offshore series wins in its past 13 rubbers — against Sri Lanka and the West Indies — India is as much on trial as Australia in this Test.
If the Indians lose this game from such a strong position they will be inconsolable.
We have heard so much about this being the best attack they have brought to Australia. This is their chance to prove it.