After losing the first Test at Adelaide by 31 runs, hosts Australia roared back in the series with a 146-run win at Perth on Tuesday. The victory at the Optus Stadium also helped Tim Paine and Co to level the series 1-1 with two more matches to go.
Australia won the toss and always had an edge over India but Virat Kohli's side fought hard as the skipper made a gritty hundred in the first innings and pacer Mohammed Shami took a six-for in the second innings, however, crucial partnership between Usman Khawaja-Paine had a telling impact over the match.
We take a look at the key moments from the second Test at Perth:
Tim Paine guides Australia past 300
Tim Paine once again added crucial runs towards his team's cause in the first innings, chipping in with a patient 38 to defy the Indian bowlers, who were in good rhythm in the evening session of the opening day when they removed Shaun Marsh and Travis Head in quick time. Paine's partnership with the Australian lower-order, especially his 59-run stand with Pat Cummins, helped the hosts cross the 300-barrier, which would've given their bowlers some confidence at the start of the visitors' reply.
Virat Kohli defies red-hot Australia attack
Openers Murali Vijay and KL Rahul continued to disappoint after they were both castled early off the bowling of Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood respectively. The real test for the Australian attack, though, began thereafter, as they had to get rid of the in-form trio of Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane.
Kohli, who had missed out on a fifty in the second innings at Adelaide, was at his brilliant best as he defied the testing conditions to bring up his 25th Test century. In the process, he also forged vital partnerships with Pujara and Rahane, laying the foundation for a respectable first innings total of 283.
Kohli's contentious dismissal
The Australians had tried all the tricks up their sleeve, but the prospect of dismissing a dominant Kohli on the third day was looking increasingly difficult. Cummins, who had engaged the India skipper in an absorbing battle on Saturday, got Kohli to nick one off his bowling, with Peter Handscomb taking a contentious catch in the slips with the ball appearing to have grassed before settling in his palms. The on-field umpire went upstairs, giving the soft signal of 'out', and the third umpire eventually went with his instinct, resulting in Kohli's magnificent innings coming to an end at 123.
While a plenty of debate over the catch followed, Kohli's dismissal sparked a collapse that took away any chances the visitors had of gaining a first innings lead. Nathan Lyon played a key role in polishing the Indian lower-order off, finishing with figures of 5/67.
Khawaja-Paine partnership that put hosts in driver's seat
While the hosts began their second innings with the cushion of the 43-run lead, they were faced with a stiff test in the form of the Indian pace battery bowling testing lines on a pitch that had become all the more challenging to bat on. The viciousness of the pitch became all the more apparent after opener Marcus Harris was pinged on his helmet, and Aaron Finch had to retire hurt after copping a blow on his finger. At 120/4, the possibility of setting a target less than 200 seemed very much probable for Kohli and Co.
It is in that context that Usman Khawaja's half-century, which led to a fruitful 72-run stand with Paine, stands out. The pair ensured that the game was firmly in the hosts' grasp by the time the players broke for lunch.
Mohammad Shami’s post-lunch burst
Mohammed Shami had been having a mixed run in the series until the post-lunch session on the fourth day. Having gone wicket-less in the previous innings, Shami got to hog the limelight for once in the series with his fellow pacers Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma having had their moments. The Bengal pacer further cemented his reputation of being a formidable weapon in the second innings, as he collected his career-best haul of 6/56.
It started with a near unplayable delivery to Paine that resulted in the ball lobbing over to Kohli in the slips. Shami was on a hat-trick after dismissing Finch, who lasted just one delivery on the fourth day, off the very next ball. While he missed out on the hat-trick in the next over, it didn't take him long to remove the set Khawaja, squaring him up with another short ball that got a faint tickle on his outside edge. Shami then induced a cut shot from Nathan Lyon while cramping him for room, resulting in the off-spinner getting dismissed for the first time in this series.
Lyon removes Kohli
The wily off-spinner effectively sealed the game in the final session of the fourth day when he induced an edge off Kohli's bat, with the ball flying straight to Khawaja in the slips as the Australians broke into wild celebrations. The India skipper began well in the stiff chase, made all the more difficult by the departures of Rahul and Pujara, and looked in good nick as he used his wrists well to guide the ball towards the leg side for a couple of boundaries. The Indians were banking on their superstar batsman to pull off the humongous task. While the pressure on Kohli's shoulders would've been immense, it's not as if he's not found himself in sticky situations before.
Monday wasn't his day though, as he got deceived by a delivery that held its line while he played for the turn. Lyon got the prized scalp of Kohli for a second time in this series, and would rattle Murali Vijay's off-stump a couple of overs later. At 55/4, the contest was all but over.
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