Kohli hits 69 but India on verge of defeat

Perth: Virat Kohli struck an impressive unbeaten 69 but India were staring at a heavy defeat on the third morning of the third cricket Test against Australia at the WACA here today.

The young middle-order batsman played a career-reviving knock, his third Test fifty, as the visitors, who trailed Australia by 208 runs in the first innings, were 165 for six in their second essay at lunch break, still 43 runs adrift overall.

Overnight 88 for four, India lost two wickets in the morning session. Rahul Dravid (47) and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni (2) were the batsmen out.

Dravid fell by now all-familiar mode of dismissal in the series, bowled for 47. Ryan Harris brought the ball in from a length and Dravid, who has shown a tendency to neither go forward nor backwards at times, lost his leg stump as he made a last attempt to flick it.

Dravid batted for 177 minutes and hit eight fours from 114 balls. There was a stage when he took 30 balls to move from 41.

This was the fifth time Dravid has been bowled in this series. He now has 54 such dismissals and has overtaken Allan Border as the batsman who has been dismissed most times cleanbowled.

Ben Hilfenhaus and Ryan Harris began the day`s proceedings and both Dravid and Kohli were circumspect to start with as only three runs came from the first three overs. Dravid then slashed Hilfenhaus past the point region to raise the hundred of the Indian second innings.

Kohli played solidly but for a rapid bouncer from Harris which took his bat while still rising and went over keeper Brad Haddin`s head for a four.

The youngster from Delhi then drove Mitchell Starc elegantly through the onside to raise an impressive half century, made in 115 minutes off 92 balls with six fours.

Dravid and Kohli were unseparated till the first drinks break with India on 129 for four, having raised 41 runs from the first hour off 16 overs. The two stretched their stand to 86 runs from 30-odd overs before Dravid was out in a familiar fashion.

Skipper Dhoni (2), continuing with his wretched form in the series, played forward to a Peter Siddle delivery and edged a low catch to Ricky Ponting in the second slip.

Aware now that he is running out of partners, Kohli cut and drove powerfully through the off-side off HIlfenhaus to continue his impressive batting. He has so far batted for 174 minutes and hit eight fours from 128 balls.