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Finally, century for a change

While the big four flopped again to leave India facing a probable defeat and a whitewash, Kohli's maiden hundred provides some hope for the future. Rohit Bhaskar reports. Scorecard | Kohli coming of age | Siddle says as he sees it

india Updated: Jan 27, 2012 01:04 IST
Rohit Bhaskar
Rohit Bhaskar
Hindustan Times
Sachin Tendulkar,hindustan times,news

The youth brigade of India showed the long-term future is far from bleak even if things look gloomy in the near term. A coming-of-age century by Virat Kohli, a gutsy batting effort by stand-in stumper Wriddhiman Saha in his second Test, and a spell of top-notch spin bowling by R Ashwin late in the day gave India something to cheer about and seemed to ensure at least one Test goes into a fifth day.

Australia is still on top, 382 runs ahead with seven wickets in hand, on an Adelaide Oval pitch that is fast crumbling as it is wont to do. But after a first session where the big guns faltered, India used the last two sessions to prove there was some fight left in the squad after all.India started the morning cautiously as Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris kept pressure on overnight batsmen Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar, who could only add 15 runs in the first 10 overs. In the 11th over of the morning, Peter Siddle got rid of Tendulkar. A fuller length delivery drew him forward and took his outside edge and Ricky Ponting at second slip held a low catch.

Provoked bowler

Prior to the match, Gambhir had dismissed Siddle's fine showing in the series saying helpful home conditions had worked to his advantage. On an unresponsive pitch, Siddle gave a fitting reply. He bowled the perfect bouncer which had Gambhir hopping, and the southpaw, trying to fend away, could only loop it towards gully where Mike Hussey dived forward to take a splendid catch.

Soon, VVS Laxman was also gone, falling to Nathan Lyon, who bowled impressively all day and will play a crucial role in the Indian second innings.

The stage was set for Kohli and Saha to embark on a 114-run partnership which gave some respectability to a total that was 111/5 when they set forth rebuilding the innings. The duo looked set to bat out the session. It would have been the first session in the series that India saw off without losing a wicket. However, it was not be as Harris got one to nip back and clip the top of Saha's off-stump with the Bengal batsman offering no shot.

Twin strikes
In the final session, Siddle again proved how invaluable he has been all summer, removing Ashwin and Zaheer off back-to-back deliveries to complete his five-wicket haul.

Kohli was on 91 when Ishant walked in, and looked in danger of running out of partners before reaching his ton. But he went on the attack and smashed two boundaries off Harris in the next over to move to 99. He endured an anxious wait before finally reaching his maiden Test century.

After his handy contribution, Ishant was bowled by Hilfenhaus. The Tasmanian pacer then dismissed Kohli for 116 to end India's innings at 272.

Australia chose not to enforce the follow on. David Warner raced away to 28 before Ashwin, who opened the bowling, got rid of him by holding on to a low return catch.

The out of sorts Shaun Marsh was dismissed by Zaheer in his next over for a duck to complete a miserable summer for the batsman which has yielded 17 runs in 6 innings. Ashwin then trapped the third left-hander, Ed Cowan, leg before in his next over as three wickets fell for one run to leave the Aussies at 40/3. But their tormentors Clarke and Ponting were together at stumps.

First Published: Jan 26, 2012 07:42 IST