Virat Kohli sedately inched towards his first Test hundred since November 2019 as India reached 362 for four at lunch on day four of the fourth Test against Australia here on Sunday.
The pitch hasn’t been easy for scoring with only 73 runs scored off 32 overs in the morning session. Kohli (88 batting) added 29 runs to his overnight score of 59 not out with India still 118 runs behind Australia’s first innings score of 480.
With Shreyas Iyer unlikely to bat due to recurrence of a lower back injury, K.S. Bharat was promoted up the order and he did his case no harm with an unbeaten 25 off 70 balls.
The wicket-keeper also shared an unbroken 53-run stand with the former India captain.
Bharat, in fact, played the best shot of the morning, a slog sweep over cow corner off Nathan Lyon for a six.
The only wicket that India lost during the session was of Ravindra Jadeja (28 off 84 balls), who failed to clear Usman Khawaja at mid-on off Todd Murphy (2/64 in 32 overs).
Kohli has put his head down during his 220-ball knock and it did allow the Australians to control the proceedings on a slow deck. The only time he got closest to hitting a boundary was a flick through mid-wicket off Cameron Green but Mitchell Starc cut it down to three runs.
He was then happy getting the occasional single and double to keep the scoreboard moving.
Bharat, who has had a wretched time with the bat in the series so far, did look way more confident on a flat track and was more assured in his defence.
He put a big stride forward to negate the little bit of turn that was on offer for the Australian spinners.
The only one who got a couple of deliveries to break back sharply was Lyon (1/99 in 49 overs).
Australia 1st Innings: 480 in 167.2 overs.
India 1st Innings: (Overnight 289/3; 99 overs) Rohit Sharma c Labuschagne b Kuhnemann 35 Shubman Gill lbw 128 Cheteshwar Pujara lbw Murphy 42 Virat Kohli batting 88 Ravindra Jadeja c Khawaja b Murphy 28 Srikar Bharat batting 25
Extras: (B-10, LB-4, NB-2) 16
Total: (For four wickets in 131 overs) 362
Fall of Wickets: 1-74, 2-187, 3-245, 4-309
Bowling: Mitchell Starc 17-2-74-0, Cameron Green 14-0-54-0, Nathan Lyon 49-8-99-1, Matthew Kuhnemann 19-2-57-1, Todd Murphy 32-9-64-2.