Kohli leads India to 224 for three(Lunch Report)

Melbourne, Dec 28 (IANS) India lost their two overnight unbeaten batsmen but skipper Virat Kohli is leading the charge to help reap 224 for three at lunch in their first innings on day three of the third Test against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground here Sunday.

Kohli was batting on 60, accompanied by Ajinkya Rahane (batting 43), to stabilise India’s innings that was in a spot of bother after losing two unbeaten overnight batsman within the first hour of the play.
India still trail by 306 runs but would pin their hopes on the blossoming Kohli-Rahane partnership that was unbeaten on 77 runs at lunch.
But India’s start to the day’s action couldnot have been worse.
No.3 batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, resuming on his overnight score of 25, was dismissed of the second ball of the day by pacer Ryan Harris, caught brilliantly by a diving Brad Haddin.
Haddin had dropped a much simpler chance offered by Pujara when he was on 12 Saturday but dived full length to his right to grab the edge which was induced by Harris when the batsman tried to cut a ball too close to his body.
Australia intensified their aggressive bowling, mixing bouncers with fuller length deliveries. Mitchell Johnson hit Murali Vijay on the helmet with a sharp rising delivery and kept probing the batsman with some tight bowling.
He was backed up by his team-mates who also kept the batsman on a tight leash.
The Indian skipper had all the pressure and responsibility on his shoulders. He began his innings in fine fashion. Batting judiciously, he picked the right deliveries to score, playing straight to unleash some superb straight and cover drives.
He and Vijay were beginning to build-up a partnership when all-rounder Shane Watson struck.
Australia were rewarded for their consistent line with the well-set Viay falling for the trap set for him. His mode of dismissal was very similar to that of Pujara’s, trying to cut a ball too close to the body only to edge it to the wicketkeeper.
India lost two wickets in the first hour of play and were in a spot of bother.
But Ajinkya Rahane, together with Kohli, batted sensibly and kept the scoreboard ticking, stitching together a promising partnership.