King Kohli forced to play se­cond fid­dle

Sunday Tasmanian - - Sport - ROBERT CRADDOCK

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 Kolhi bat­tle by forc­ing the mas­ter to change his game.

Never has he scored at a slower rate in an in­nings of 30 or more.

They got him in the end, caught at short-leg off Nathan Lyon, for a slow­fused 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 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 Kolhi’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 old­fash­ioned, 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 they 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 off-shore 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 In­dia loses 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.

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