Vijay-Kohli stand fuels Indian hopes of victory in 1st Test

Adelaide: Fine half-centuries by opener Murali Vijay and stand-in skipper Virat Kohli helped fuel India’s hopes of victory against Australia on the fifth day of the first cricket Test, here today.

A solid 148-run stand for the unbroken third wicket between Vijay (85 batting) and Kohli (82 batting) propelled India to 205/2 in pursuit of victory target of 364 runs.

India now need a further 159 runs with 37 overs remaining in the day.

Vijay faced 208 deliveries with nine fours and a six while Kohli’s 82 off 112 balls with 10 fours and a six.

This was after Australia had declared at their overnight score of 290/5 and had a stipulated 98 overs to bowl at the Indian batsmen on this final day of the match.

Nathan Lyon (1-91) and Mitchell Johnson (1-28) were the only two wicket-takers on the day so far. Ryan Harris (0-28), Peter Siddle (0-16), Shane Watson (0-6), Mitchell Marsh (0-11) and Steve Smith (0-18) were the other bowlers tried out.

Before lunch, the Vijay-Kohli partnership was worth 48 runs and draw looked the more likely result after the hosts had chipped away two early wickets.

Much depended on this second session of play on this final day of the Test.

These two batsmen had been the most comfortable against Lyon’s spin in the first innings and they build on it in the second innings, laying the platform for the possibility of a push for victory in the final session of play.

Kohli was the main architect of this plan since he had attacked Lyon ever since he came to the crease. After lunch, he continued with the ploy, hoisting the spinner for a six. It was a good contest as the spinner had a close shout for leg before against him four overs later.

But Kohli came out on top, scoring 46 runs off the 51 balls he faced from the bowler. He brought up his 10th Test fifty in the 45th over, reaching there in 69 balls.

At the other end, Vijay was solid, and he too got to his eighth Test fifty off 131 balls, getting to the mark earlier in the 37th over.