Jab hurts Kohli but still a long way to KO

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - ROBERT CRAD­DOCK

IT’S the sneaky statis­tic Aus­tralian fans are only pre­pared to whis­per be­hind cupped hands.

In Virat Kohli’s last six Test in­nings against Aus­tralia, fea­tur­ing a se­ries in In­dia last year, he has man­aged just 49 runs at just over eight per in­nings.

No, it does not mean Aus­tralia has the wood on him be­cause he has six cen­turies in 16 Tests against them and an av­er­age against them which floats around 50.

But still, Aus­tralia has some­how landed a cheeky lit­tle run of left jabs against the world’s best player.

As great as Kohli is, he, like his less tal­ented top or­der team­mates, are pris­on­ers of the sort of cricket they have been play­ing and the mind­set they are try­ing to play with.

Kolhi likes to play gung- ho cricket. And he wants the team to play that way as well which is dan­ger­ous when his team­mates are not as tal­ented as he is.

Gen­er­ally it works for him but it can make him oc­ca­sion­ally vul­ner­a­ble to dis­missals like yes­ter­day’s when Aus­tralia bowled straight and true for al­most ev­ery ball of his short in­nings be­fore bait­ing the hook just wide of off- stump.

His flash­ing blade edged to Us­man Khawaja in the gully whose one- handed snare may yet be re­mem­bered as the most sig­nif­i­cant mo­ment of the se­ries. You sense that this will be the blue­print for Aus­tralia against Kohli for the se­ries.

Chal­lenge his ego. Make him want to dom­i­nate you. He is so good that he can over­come any game plan and nor­mally does. But it should make for an en­gag­ing con­test.

It was sig­nif­i­cant that amid the men who could not re­sist temp­ta­tion the lone war­rior to stand out was Chetesh­wah Pu­jura, the only mem­ber of the squad who does not have an In­dian Premier League con­tract, an old fash­ioned Test match war­rior who shed the lime­light.

Aus­tralia can be proud of their per­for­mance in the field.

The open­ing spells of Josh Ha­zle­wood and Mitchell Starc were col­lec­tively the quick­est recorded by Cricviz in Test cricket this year.

Aus­tralia needed a solid start and got one. There is still much hard work ahead.

DIS­MISSED: Virat Kohli.

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