Australia battle India to build lead of 175 runs

TOP PLAYERS::Virat Kohli of India commanded the pitch, anchoring his side’s first innings, while New Zealand’s Kane Williamson dominated play in Perth

AFP, PERTH, Australia

Mon, Dec 17, 2018 - Page 10

Australia’s batsmen battled a deteriorating pitch yesterday in their bid to build a match-winning lead on the third day of the second Test in Perth.

The hosts led by 43 after both teams’ first innings despite a superb Virat Kohli century, but found batting incredibly tough in their second innings.

At stumps, Australia were 132-4, with Usman Khawaja on 41 and Tim Paine on eight, an overall lead of 175.

Although they still had six wickets in hand, opener Aaron Finch was taken to the hospital for scans after retiring hurt with an injured right hand on 25.

The cracks in the pitch were starting to become a significant factor, with Finch’s opening partner, Marcus Harris, also struck flush on the helmet by a rising delivery in making 20.

The struggles of Australia’s batsmen were a far cry from the command of Kohli as he anchored his team’s first innings.

In reply to Australia’s 326 after winning the toss and batting, India were bowled out for 283 despite Kohli’s 123.

Kohli reached his century with a classic straight drive off paceman Mitchell Starc, having been at the crease for 310 minutes and faced 214 balls.

In reaching triple figures, Kohli became the second-fastest player to reach 25 Test centuries in terms of innings with 127 behind only Don Bradman (68).



New Zealand captain Kane Williamson provided a batting masterclass yesterday against Sri Lanka in Wellington to keep up his chase of Virat Kohli to become the world’s top Test batsman.

Williamson scored 91 as he and Tom Latham combined for 162 runs to drive New Zealand to 311 for two at stumps on the second day of the first Test against Sri Lanka at the Basin Reserve.

Latham was unbeaten on 121 at the close of play, having notched his seventh century after playing the anchor role for the hosts and helping them to a 29-run first innings lead with eight wickets remaining.

Ross Taylor was 50 not out, but the day’s play was dominated by Williamson, who had risen to a career-best Test ranking of No. 2 in the world — behind Kohli — after scoring 386 runs at an average of more than 77 in the United Arab Emirates against Pakistan.