Kohli in top form as India fights on
VIRAT Kohli silenced Sunil Gavaskar and a desperate Australian attack to keep India alive and kicking in the second Test in Perth.
The normally unstoppable King of Indian cricket had not made a half century against Australia in nine innings when he strode to the crease at 2-8, only to waste no time building his latest Test masterpiece.
Not only was Kohli under pressure from the astute bowling plans of the Aussie quicks but he copped a rare spectacular spray from one of his own after the great Gavaskar unleashed on his tactics as captain early on day two.
India is still 154 runs behind Australia’s first innings total of 326, but as the gremlins in the Perth pitch incredibly disappeared yesterday, Kohli (82 not-out) is bearing down on a seventh career ton against his most despised rivals, after steering his side to 3-172 at stumps.
Gavaskar savaged Kohli for not opening with key swing weapon Jasprit Bumrah with a virtually new ball to start day two, as Tim Paine (38) and Pat Cummins (19) piled on a valuable 49 lower-order runs on a mystery pitch.
Mitchell Starc (2-42) hit back at fierce condemnation from Shane Warne with two ADAM Gilchrist has urged Mitchell Starc not to tame the tiger within in his bid to become a more consistent force.
Starc (pictured) had steam coming out his ears yesterday in Perth when he exploded out key scalps including a cracking delivery to skittle Murali Vijay in the third over which he celebrated animatedly, but Cummins and Nathan Lyon went wicketless on a day of exhausting toil.
Kohli, after weathering a relentless spell from Pat Cummins (0-40), showed his champion qualities as he anchored critical match-saving partnerships with Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane (51 not out) worth 74 and 90 unbeaten runs respectively.
Kohli’s innings made up for pulling the wrong rein in the morning when he gave a nineovers’ old second new ball to Ishant Sharma and Mohammed Shami – who were dismally short and limp and allowed Australia easy runs.
Gavaskar was highly critical of India’s modern-day superstar batsman.
“Astonished, baffled not just surprised,” Gavaskar told Sony Sports of the decision.
“Baffled because (of) the ball he (Bumrah) bowled to Paine with the second new ball towards the end of yesterday’s play – pitching on a length, beating Paine and going over wicketkeeper Pant’s head.
“When somebody is bowling that way … Why would you not give him the ball straight away at the start of the day’s play?
“He’s been your best bowler on this surface.” of the blocks to decimate Murali Vijay’s stumps in just the third over of India’s innings on day two and when he broke through the wall that is Cheteshwar Pujara, a point had been made.
Starc had responded to one “King” in Shane Warne, but SECOND TEST - AUSTRALIA V INDIA DAY TWO AT PERTH another, Virat Kohli, maintained an ominous presence at the crease.
Speaking for the first time since being slammed by Warne again on the eve of the Test, Starc hit back at his critics following the Adelaide Test.
“Bar about three overs I was pretty happy. I stuck to my plans, and did my role for the team,” Starc said.
“I’ve worked on my consistency the past few years and my economy rate was the best it’s been in my career.”
Gilchrist said Starc had to be careful his search for more consistency didn’t cost him his x-factor edge.
“Mitch Starc mentioned again he’s trying to get consistency – that’s a delicate balance,” Gilchrist said in commentary for Fox Cricket.
“You do not want to sap them of that natural x-factor.”
India's Virat Kohli defends a short ball in the second Test in Perth yesterday. India’s captain was an impressive 82 not-out at stumps