India, pitch frustrate Australia

27 December, 2018, 11:00 | Author: Amy Huff
  • The inaugural Test at the Optus Stadium saw Virat Kohli Marcus Harris Aaron Finch Nathan Lyon and Umesh Yadav struck with vicious bounce though none were seriously hurt. @ Twitter

Former Australian cricketer and current commentator Kerry O'Keefe was slammed on Twitter after he belittled Mayank Agarwal and Indian domestic circuit in First-Class cricket during Day one of the third Test on Wednesday.

With debutant Mayank Agarwal's maiden fifty and Pujara providing the crucial support to Kohli Indian scoreboard read 215/2 with more than 90 runs being scored in the final session without any wicket.

Cummins finally had Agarwal caught by keeper Tim Paine to leave India 123-2 but Kohli settled in quickly as he rattled off a string of boundaries, while Pujara claimed his 21st Test half-century to leave the tourists in the ascendancy.

At lunch on day two, they were 277 for two with Pujara not out 103 and Kohli on 69, leaving Australia facing mounting problems on a lifeless pitch offering little for the bowlers.

It was only the second instance in 11 overseas Tests this year that Virat Kohli was yet to arrive at the crease with 100-plus runs on the scoreboard.

His attacking intent pushed Lyon on the backfoot as the spinner failed to get any wicket.

Kohli, who fell 18 runs short of his sixth test century of 2018, struck nine fours from 204 deliveries.

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The only exception was a late burst from Mitchell Starc, during which Tim Paine put down a low one-handed chance when Kohli was on 47. Even so, they could not deny Pujara who reached his second hundred of this series off 280 balls just prior to lunch.

Pat Cummins (40/2) was Australia's best, although it was mostly short-pitched bowling that looked risky.

But the decision to axe both openers smacks of panic for an Indian side which has relied heavily on Virat Kohli, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane for runs during the series.

The opening session between the two teams ended in a draw as both India and Australia had something to cheer for at the end of the session.

But it was Cummins who got the breakthrough. Agarwal looked confident against the new ball bowlers and also played Nathan Lyon with a positive intent. Agarwal has indicated a positive attitude and a desire to go for his shots despite some aggressive bowling by the Australian pace bowlers.

His spot in the Melbourne Boxing Day test will instead be occupied by all-rounder Mitchell Marsh. This brought together Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma to the crease and the Australians made a decision to exert some pressure.

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