Adelaide: Virat Kohli’s enduring love affair with Adelaide Oval resulted in a classy 74 but his untimely run-out triggered a batting collapse as India ended the opening day at 233/6 against Australia in the first Day/Night Test here on Thursday.
Kohli, who looked in complete command, was run out when his deputy Ajinkya Rahane backed out after calling for a single and it happened just before the second new ball was taken.
From a comfortable 188/3, India slumped to 206/6 as Rahane and Hanuma Vihari (16) found the pace and swing generated by the pink ball under lights too hot to handle. Ravichandran Ashwin (15 batting) and Wriddhiman Saha (9 batting) saw off the final few overs and also got a few runs.
In conditions, which can’t exactly be called batting friendly, Kohli blended the right amount of caution and aggression in his 180-ball innings, showing one and all that he is a few lightyears ahead of his peers when it comes to quality batsmanship.
If Cheteshwar Pujara (43 off 160 balls) let bowlers dictate terms with an ultra-defensive approach, his skipper gave opposition the respect it deserved but also from time to time, played those shots to drive home a point.
His 88-run partnership with Rahane (42 off 91 balls) during the final session nearly put India on even keel but fortunes tilted once Kohli was back in the pavilion.
Rahane was soon snapped with the second new ball by Mitchell Starc (2/49).
Earlier, Pujara’s ultra-defensive approach became his own undoing as India literally crawled during the first two sessions.
So intent was Pujara on blocking anything and leaving everything for the better part of his innings, that a 68-run stand for the third wicket with Kohli couldn’t release pressure going into the second break of the evening.
In the morning, Prithvi Shaw’s (0) poor technique was once again exposed by Starc while Mayank Agarwal (17) got a beauty from Pat Cummins.
The Australian pace troika of Starc (2/49 in 19 overs), Josh Hazlewood (1/47 in 20 overs) and Pat Cummins (1/42 in 19 overs) bowled a very steady line comprising mostly of fuller deliveries.
India 1st Innings: Prithvi Shaw b Starc 0, Mayank Agarwal b Cummins 17, Cheteshwar Pujara c Labuschagne b Lyon 43, Virat Kohli run out 74, Ajinkya Rahane lbw Starc 42, Hanuma Vihari lbw Hazlewood 16, Wriddhiman Saha (not out) 9, Ravichandran Ashwin (not out) 15. Extras (b-2, lb-7 nb-7, wd-1) 17. Total (For 6 wkts, in 89 overs) 233.
FoW: 1-0, 2-3, 3-100, 4-188, 5-196, 6-206.
Bowling: Mitchell Starc 19-4-49-2, Josh Hazlewood 20-6-47-1, Pat Cummins 19-7-42-1, Cameron Green 9-2-15-0, Nathan Lyon 21-2-68-1, Marnus Labuschagne 1-0-3-0.