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Mocking, mind games: Injured Virat Kohli still main target for Australians

Australia cricket team players seemed to add a fresh chapter to the hostility towards India cricket team skipper Virat Kohli, this time poking fun at his shoulder injury in the Ranchi Test

cricket Updated: Mar 18, 2017 22:44 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Ranchi
India vs Australia,India cricket team,Virat Kohli
India cricket team skipper Virat Kohli with Cheteshwar Pujara during his innings on the third day of the Ranchi Test vs Australia cricket team on Saturday. (PTI)

India and Australia are playing another absorbing Test in Ranchi, but the focus continues to be on skipperVirat Kohli, struggling to score runs in the series and nursing a shoulder injury. (Day 3 Highlights)

The Australia team and former players have repeatedly targeted the Indian skipper from the time the series started. The DRS row between Kohli and Australia skipper Steve Smith has only fuelled that hostility. (Scorecard)

Glenn Maxwell, who scored a maiden century on Friday to revive his sputtering Test career, put in a diving stop on Saturday, like Kohli had when he landed heavily on his shoulder on the first day of the Test.

Having got up without any trouble, and a boundary saved, the Aussie batsman then clutched his right shoulder with a smile. He seemed to remind everyone of the injury suffered by Kohli, who seems to be Australia’s public enemy No 1.

Read more | Cheteshwar Pujara again drives home the advantage for India in Ranchi Test

TV pictures also showed what seemed like the Aussie skipper Steve Smith tapping his shoulder to mimic Kohli’s injury.

India opener Murali Vijay wasn’t amused.

“See, a lot of things are happening, but to be honest, we have really focused on the games. Whatever they are doing, we take it as a sporting thing. There’s going to be a second innings, so hopefully if they can take it that way, it will be great,” Vijay said with a touch of sarcasm.

Read more | Pat Cummins ends six-year wait in style with hostile spell in Ranchi Test

Australia assistant coach David Saker though said the India captain ‘was under pressure’. He referred to an incident when Kohli came out on the dressing room balcony to clap as Australia, who saw their leg before appeal against Cheteshwar Pujara turned down in the morning session, exhausted their quota of reviews with that.

“I know he came out and clapped. I don’t know if it was directed at anyone in particular, but that’s the way he’s been playing this series. It’s a really cut-throat series for everyone and it’s first versus second, there’s a lot of pressure on him at the moment,” said Saker.

Read more |

“I just think when you lose your two reviews, it’s a bit of a relief to the opposition and he probably just showed that.”

Kohli was dismissed by Pat Cummins for six. Saker said: “It’s very satisfying getting Virat Kohli out cheaply. There’s no set plan how we’re going to get him out. I think Maxwell’s chase to keep Kohli on strike was superb. We got the wicket the very next ball, so little things like that are really important for us.

“We just know how good a player he is. We just make sure we do what we can to get him out and at the moment we’ve got the better of him. But we know he’s such a good player that he could bounce back any time.”

First Published: Mar 18, 2017 22:24 IST