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.
Scoreboard at tea on the final day of the third Test between India and Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground today: Australia 1st innings 530 and 318 declared India 1st innings: 465 India 2nd innings
Murali Vijay lbw b Hazlewood 11
Shikhar Dhawan lbw b Harris 0
K L Rahul c Watson b Johnson 1
Virat Kohli not out 54
Ajinkya Rahane not out 33
Extras (LB-5)5 Total (3 wickets; 34 overs) 104
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-5, 3-19. Bowling: Johnson 7-0-24-1, Harris 8-4-16-1, Hazlewood 7-1-23-1, Lyon 9-0-26-0, Watson 3-0-10-0.