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Australia vs India: Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane shine as hope floats for visitors

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India ended the proceedings with a strong 172/3 at the end of the second day’s play at the Optus stadium in Perth on Saturday.

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Resuming the day at 277/6, the pair of Tim Paine and Pat Cummins frustrated the Indians by adding 49 more runs to the total to eventually end their innings on 326 all out.

The Indian bowlers aimed to polish off the remainder of the Aussie batting as early as possible on the second day but their plans took a hit when the Paine-Cummins duo frustrated the tourists with some resistance before Umesh Yadav got through the defence of Cummins and took out his off-stump.

Also read: Ravichandran Ashwin’s injury could be a huge blow for India: Mike Hussey

This dismissal triggered the downfall as the remainder of the batting was wiped out within a space of 16 more runs with Ishant Sharma taking two wickets in two deliveries to end with 4/41.

The 300-run mark provided Australia with the psychological advantage and it reaped instant rewards with Mitchell Starc regaining his lost touch, castling Murali Vijay for a duck. The momentum seemed to pay off pretty well for Australia as Josh Hazlewood struck this time, ending a struggling stay for KL Rahul at the crease with an accurate yorker.

But India fought back hard and strong through one of their most reliable pairs in skipper Virat Kohli and the in-form Cheteshwar Pujara. The duo arrested the minor slump and added 74 runs for the third wicket before Starc removed Pujara, having him caught behind down the leg side. India, at 82/3, needed another big stand to ensure they remained in the game and Kohli’s call was answered by his deputy Ajinkya Rahane, who showed grit and determination en route to his unbeaten 51. Kohli meanwhile made his failure in Adelaide look like a thing from the past as he showed his usual self–a responsible, patient and yet stylish innings of 82 from 181 balls with nine hits to the fence.

India would hope that their captain and vice-captain add more to their unbeaten 90 run stand to get close to the Australian total.

Brief scores: India 172/3( Virat Kohli 82*, Ajinkya Rahane 51*; Mitchell Starc 2/ 42) trail Australia 326 all out (Marcus Harris 70, Travis Head 58; Ishant Sharma 4/41) by 154 runs.

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