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Fighting Kohli falls for 123 after leading India fightback

Photo: AFP


India captain Virat Kohli fell to a controversial catch after becoming the second-fastest batsman to 25 Test centuries on the third day of the second Test against Australia in Perth on Sunday.

At lunch, India were 252 for seven in reply to Australia's first innings total of 326, still trailing by 74 runs. Rishabh Pant was not out 14.

Kohli fell just before the break for 123 to a contentious catch by Peter Handscomb at second slip from the bowling of Pat Cummins (1-54).

Handscomb dived forward and claimed the low catch after Cummins found the outside edge, but Kohli stood his ground believing the ball had touched the ground.

Replays were inconclusive and the original on-field decision stood to end a sublime innings at a crucial time in the match.

To make matters worse for India, new batsman Mohammed Shami fell to Nathan Lyon (2-50) first ball after which the players departed for lunch.

Kohli rose to the challenge after being forced to lead his team's fightback, striding to the crease when they had slumped to eight for two on Saturday.

The 30-year-old did so in style, reaching triple figures in 310 minutes and having faced 214 balls to become the second-fastest batsman to 25 Test centuries in terms of innings, with 127.

Countryman Sachin Tendulkar is third with 130, while Don Bradman managed it in just 68.

It was also his sixth century in Australia, lifting him equal with Tendulkar as the only Indian batsmen to reach that tally, and gave him the honour of becoming the first Test centurion at the new Perth Stadium.

He posted his ton with a classical off-drive to the boundary from the bowling of Mitchell Starc, sparking a huge roar from the strong Indian contingent in the crowd.

The often expressive Kohli immediately pointed to his bat and gestured with his glove that he was letting it do the talking for him.

A couple of overs later he put an exclamation mark on his innings when he lifted paceman Josh Hazlewood over third man for six, before he fell to Cummins.

Kohli had resumed on 82 and India's hopes of challenging the Australian total rested squarely on his shoulders.

The home team were able to remove overnight batsman Ajinkya Rahane in the first over of the day, caught by wicketkeeper Tim Paine from the bowling of Lyon for 51 to end a 91-run partnership with Kohli.

The recalled Hanuma Vihari made 20 before he was caught by Paine off Hazlewood.