Kohli, Rahane consolidate as India reach 104/3

Kohli, Rahane consolidate as India reach 104/3

First innings centurions Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane arrested the initial slump as India reached 104 for three at tea chasing an improbable target of 384 on the fifth day of the third cricket Test against Australia, here today.

Kohli struck another gritty half-century to remain unbeaten on 54 off 98 balls with seven fours and added 85 runs for the fourth wicket with Rahane (33 batting) after India were left struggling at 19 for three losing Shikhar Dhawan (0), Murali Vijay (11) and KL Rahul (1).

Earlier, Australia declared their second innings at 318 for 9 at lunch, taking a 383-run lead, thanks to Shaun Marsh's 99 off 215 balls with 11 fours and two sixes.

When India started their second innings, Dhawan was out leg before in the second over to Ryan Harris. In his second Test innings then, debutant KL Rahul (1) was promoted to number three as a strategic decision, with the Indian team management denying any injury to Cheteshwar Pujara.

Much like in the first innings, Rahul played a poor shot to get out, this time pulling a wide rising delivery from Mitchell Johnson (1-24) as Shane Watson (0-10) ran back from first slip to complete the catch.

India were struggling at 5/2 and things could have been worse in the 5th over when Kohli (on 4*) could have been run-out as Vijay wasn't backing up and looking at the ball instead. His partner meanwhile had almost reached the non-striking end and only a poor throw from David Warner helped keep Kohli at the crease.

But Vijay left soon after in the 9th over, adjudged leg before by umpire Kumar Dharamsena off Josh Hazlewood (1-23).

It brought Rahane to the crease, pairing him up with Kohli once again. They repeated the magic from the first innings as they took on Johnson and attacked his short deliveries.
The runs started coming along nicely and the session was running down, with the Indian 50-mark coming up in the 18th over.

Just 15 overs later, the 100-mark came up and in between Kohli had celebrated his fifty off 87 balls. There were a couple hiccups before tea though.

Rahane, on 22, was dropped by Chris Rogers at point off Johnson in the 27th over. Then in the 34th, Kohli escaped being run-out once again whilst going for a second run, as Nathan Lyon (0-26) failed to collect the throw.

In the morning, play started early by 30 minutes to make up for the time lost on day four. But only three balls into the day, rain came down to stop the proceedings. There was a 40-minute delay before resumption of play.

Shaun Marsh and Ryan Harris (21) continued to take their time and it looked like scoring runs was not on their agenda. Only 57 runs came in this morning session and the run-rate was nothing to write home about.

It could be seen from the fact that the first boundary came in only the 83rd over, the 8th over of the morning.

India looked like they were waiting for the declaration to come about. Meanwhile Australia were looking to play for time as the pitch didn't show enough variable bounce like in Brisbane or deterioration like in Adelaide.

It resulted in a slow morning as the 50-run partnership for the 8th wicket came up off 112 balls. The 300-mark for Australia came up in the 92nd over.

At the hour mark in the morning session, there was another 10-minute delay in play because of rain. But no overs have been deducted with play extended in the evening until 6:06 pm local time and another half hour possible afterwards.

When play resumed, Harris was the first to depart of the two batsmen, caught behind off Mohammad Shami (2-92). There were only 20-odd minutes left in the session as Nathan Lyon (1*) came out to bat, but probably with the message that the team management intended to declare at the break.

That brought about urgency in Marsh as he struck a six and a four in the 95th over bowled by Ravichandran Ashwin (2-75). He had also been dropped that over, on 86, by the bowler as the return catch hit him high on the wrist.

Then, two overs later, in a rush of blood Marsh went for a quick single and was run-out by a direct throw from Virat Kohli from mid-off.

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