It was a relief for Virat Kohli as he scored his first Test fifty in more than 14 months on Day 3 of the fourth Test encounter between India and Australia in Ahmedabad on Saturday. It was a gritty knock from the ex-India skipper, but he was made to wait by the umpire just before he could celebrate the milestone. Kohli placed the ball towards square leg and easily completed two runs to bring up his fifty by the on-field umpires asked him to wait. A review was underway to check if the runs were completely in the proper manner. Kohli, along with the spectators at the Narendra Modi Stadium, waited for the decision and once the check was completed, Kohli could not help but give a relieved smile.
.@imVkohli scores his first Test 50 since January 2022#ViratKohli𓃵 #INDvsAUSTest #BGT23 pic.twitter.com/MqAevSmGew
— Sportsresult (@Sportsresult12) March 11, 2023
Shubman Gill‘s sparkling century and an unbeaten 59 by Virat Kohli kept India strong in their first innings reply against a persistent Australian spin attack in the fourth Test on Saturday.
India were 289-3 at stumps and still trailing Australia’s 480 by 191 runs on day three at the world’s biggest cricket stadium in Ahmedabad.
Gill stood out with his 128 — the opener’s second Test ton and first in India — as he built key partnerships including a 113-run stand for the second wicket with Cheteshwar Pujara, who made 42.
“It feels great to be able to get a hundred in India,” Gill, 23, told broadcaster Star Sports.
“The pitch was pretty good to bat on. Anything that was happening off the pitch was off the rough area.”
Spinners kept coming back with wickets as Nathan Lyon, Matthew Kuhnemann and Todd Murphy took one each on a pitch favouring the batsmen.
Gill, who replaced a struggling KL Rahul in the third Test, hit 12 fours and one big six in a good show of batting to surpass his previous Test best of 110 despite cramping towards the end of his knock.
He finally fell lbw to Lyon’s off-spin in the third session before Kohli took charge along with the left-handed Ravindra Jadeja, on 16, to see out the day’s play.
“The way Shubman played was exceptional to be honest,” Lyon said.
“That one I got him on was probably a little bit flatter, a little bit faster than what he was expecting,” he added.
“A decent ball on my behalf, but I thought the way he went about it was pretty special… He’s definitely a special player.”
Kohli reached his first Test half-century since January 2022 after a jittery start to his innings when he got off the mark on the 12th ball.
Australia delayed taking the second new ball, available to the fielding side after the 80th over, by 14 overs.
Earlier Gill overcame a tough spell of run-making in the second session to raise his ton with a fine sweep off Murphy, taking a bow as the raucous weekend crowd applauded, but lost his partner Pujara four balls later.
Murphy trapped Pujara lbw, ending a stand which prospered after skipper Rohit Sharma fell to Kuhnemann’s left-arm spin for 35 in the morning session.
“It’s a big moment for the two young spinners and I think they bowled exceptionally well,” Lyon said of Murphy and Kuhnemann.
“I think it’s pretty even. We know games in this part of the world can speed up quickly.”
Australia’s stand-in-skipper Steve Smith rotated his bowlers, who remained disciplined in their line and length to test the batsmen’s patience for much of the hot afternoon.
Gill broke the shackles with two successive boundaries off Cameron Green to bring the crowd alive with delightful cover drives.
India started the day on 36-0 and kept attacking.
Mitchell Starc bowled to plan with his short balls and a heavy leg-side field, but Rohit took on the challenge as he smashed the left-arm quick for a four and a six at long leg.
The pitch has been vastly different from the viciously spinning tracks in the previous three Tests and Usman Khawaja brought Australia the early advantage with his 180.
India lead the four-match series 2-1 after Australia won the third Test.
The hosts need a win to clinch the series and secure a berth in the World Test Championship final in June.
(With AFP inputs)
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