India won a crucial toss on the first day of the Adelaide Test against Australia and opted to bat. Murali Vijay and KL Rahul fell cheaply to Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc respectively and in-walked Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli. Kohli, who has a magnificent record at the Adelaide Oval in the last couple of Tests, came into bat at his favorite venue. The Australian bowler maintained a tight line and length around the off stump. Somehow, Kohli managed to get to three before Australian skipper Tim Paine made the first change and brought in Pat Cummins, the third pacer in the side.
On the third ball of Cummins’ first over, the bowler bowled a full ball wide outside off and it bounced a bit more. Kohli reached out for the drive and the outside edge flew to gully, but Usman Khawaja, stationed slightly wide, leapt to his left as the ball was almost past him. However, he stretched his left hand and pulled off a stunning one-handed catch to leave the Adelaide crowd in awe and Kohli shell-shocked.
The magnificent fielding effort galvanised the Australians as they picked up four wickets in the first session to leave India in a spot of bother. With Kohli falling cheaply, this will be a major boost for Australia.
Before the start of the match, the entire media had raised questions on how Australia could stop Kohli. Many analysts had said to bowl in the fourth stump line and frustrate Kohli in the quest of scoring quick runs. The Indian skipper has a magnificent record in Adelaide, scoring three centuries in the last two Test he has played at this venue. In 2012, Kohli smashed 116, the only hundred on a tour which India lost 4-0.
In 2014, Kohli became the second player after Vijay Hazare to score centuries in both innings of a Test in Australia. His knocks of 115 and 141 could not help India in their quest for victory in Australia as the hosts won the match by 48 runs. In ODIs, he smashed 107 in the 2015 World Cup against Pakistan which helped India extend their winning run to 6-0. His highest score in Twenty20 Internationals is also at this venue, when he blasted 90 against Australia in the 2016 series which India whitewashed Australia 3-0.
Australia’s bowling performance will boost the batsmen as they look to seize the initiative against an Indian side determined to break their Test hoodoo Down Under.