Usman Khawaja (41 not out) and captain Tim Paine (8 not out) were at the crease as Australia extended their lead to 175 runs by the end of the third day of the second Test in Perth on Sunday. Earlier, Virat Kohli scored a gritty hundred to help India reach closer to Australia’s first innings total. Resuming the Indian innings from 172/3 overnight, Kohli went on to score his 25th Test century. The Indian skipper’s 257-ball 123 was the highlight of the day, while while vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane couldn’t score a single run on Day 3 and lost his wicket for 51 runs. 

While Rahane went back to the pavilion inside first four balls of the day, Kohli remained solid at the other end for a long time. However, after the fall of the Indian captain, the lower-order failed to make any real contribution. 

All-rounder Hanuma Vihari made just 20 runs, while whicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant managed to contribute with 36 as India were all out for 283 runs, 43 runs short of Australia’s first innings total.

Scoring his sixth hundred in Australia, Kohli equalled the record of batting legend Sachin Tendulkar. He also became the second-quickest batsman in Test history to score 25 Test hundreds (in 127 innings) after Sir Donald Bradman’s 68 innings.

Earlier, Aaron Finch (25 retired hurt) didn’t come out to bat after being hit by Mohammed Shami (2/23) in the 13th over. He retired hurt but scans cleared him of serious damage on his right hand’s index finger. 

It was a fiery spell of fast bowling from the Indian pacers. Marcus Harris (20) too had been hit on the helmet earlier in the eighth over off Jasprit Bumrah (1/25). The opener, dropped on one off Ishant Sharma (1/33) at first slip by Cheteshwar Pujara, added 26 runs with Khawaja.

Harris was bowled off Bumrah in the 18th over, attempting to leave the ball, assuming it would move away only for it to crash into the stumps. It became two wickets in four overs as Shaun Marsh (5) was caught behind off Shami. Australia’s lead had barely crossed 100 at that stage, as Khawaja and Peter Handscomb (13) put on 21 runs. There was a lot of chatter in the middle while the latter was at the crease, owing to controversy over Kohli’s dismissal earlier in the day. Ishant trapped him lbw in the 26th over as Australia were reduced to 85 for three.

The big partnerships weren’t coming as Khawaja and Travis Head (19) added another 35 runs, helping the hosts cross 100 in the 30th over. Head threw it away just like he did in the first innings, holing out to third man off Shami. Only Khawaja stood tall among the regular wickets and anchored the Australian innings.

(With PTI inputs)