Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane saved the day for India, turning the tide in the visitors’ favour on Day 2 of the second Test against Australia in Perth on Saturday. The Indian team skipper and his deputy strung together an unbeaten 90-run stand for the fourth wicket as India ended the day 154 runs behind Australia’s first innings total of 326. At 8/2 and with both openers back in the hut, India found themselves on the backfoot early on. But some cautious batting by Cheteshwar Pujara (24) and the grit of captain Kohli, helped steady India and reach 82 for 2.

Mitchell Starc, who had come under some criticism following a below-par showing in the opening Test in Adelaide, took his second wicket of the match to end Pujara’s vigil.

However, Kohli and Rahane wrestled away the control from the Australians with a show of defiance to make sure India didn’t lose any more wickets and ended the day on 172 for three.

Following Kohli and Rahane’s heroic performance with the bat, former Australia cricketers, including former captain Michael Clarke, praised the fight shown by the Indian duo.

At stumps, the imperious Kohli was unbeaten on 82 and shaping as the major stumbling block for Australia, with Ajinkya Rahane also in fine touch on 51.

Earlier, India had cleaned up the Australian tail with Ishant Sharma (4-41) on a hat-trick in the second innings.

At 310 for six, the home side were edging towards an imposing first innings total after winning the toss and electing to bat.

But the Indian team struck back to claim the last four wickets for just 16 runs.