After the end of second day’s play in Perth, Australia batsman Usman Khawaja said that the hosts are still ahead in the game despite the magnificent partnership between Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. Khawaja believes there is still enough in the Perth pitch which can dismantle the Indian batting line-up on Day 3.
Kohli (82 not out) and Rahane (51 not out) notched up well-composed half-centuries as India finished the second day in Perth at 172/3. The visitors will thus resume the third day trailing the hosts by 154 runs.
“There is still enough in it and maybe we bowled well in patches and then didn’t in other patches. They batted well and put pressure on our bowlers. Hopefully, we can get a couple of wickets early, break this partnership because this is not an easy pitch to start on. We still have to start off well tomorrow and have that chance at their tail but still have to be quite disciplined,” Khawaja told reporters.
“Everyone pretends to be an expert on wickets but none of us really know. Looked like it had patches where it was doing a little bit. They could have nicked a couple more and it would have been a different day,” he added.
After India restricted Australia to 326 in their first innings, the visiting openers Murali Vijay and K L Rahul were sent back for a combined two runs. However, Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara showed composure to rescue India from 8/2. The Indian captain started his knock on a positive note but later slowed down. He stitched a 74-run stand for the third wicket with Pujara, who looked solid before being dismissed by Mitchell Starc for 24.
Pujara’s departure led to Rahane’s arrival at the crease. The Indian vice-captain looked in great touch from the outset as he took on the Aussie pacers to bail the team out of trouble. The duo of Virat and Rahane added an unbeaten 90 runs for the fourth wicket. While Kohli’s cautious 181-ball knock was studded with 9 boundaries, Rahane’s 103-ball innings was laced with 6 fours and a six.
“Virat is a good batsman. He respects good bowlers. All our bowlers bowled well in patches today. Sometimes they nick it sometimes they don’t. We just have to keep putting it in right place in the right time. We have to be disciplined enough to get those edges and a bit of luck is needed. If you give him opportunity to score, he will take it. He was on it today and gave him a couple fuller balls, so he hit us but at same time we had to attack stumps and see what the wicket had to offer,” Usman Khawaja asserted.
“We haven’t lost the upper hand and are still ahead of the game. Ajinkya Rahane came out and took on the short ball but we pegged them back as bowlers started bowling well. We need to do it consistently through the whole period. We knew that but some days it comes easy, some days it doesn’t. Hopefully tomorrow we can be a little bit better. They are still 140 behind. It took them 70 overs to get 170-odd. One or two wickets in first session will be pretty big for us,” he concluded.