Domain Tests v India
Kohli's supreme ton ends in catch drama
India skipper celebrates milestone century in pointed fashion, but dismissal for 123 left him unhappy with third umpire
Sam Ferris at the Perth Stadium
16 December 2018, 02:37 PM AEST
Australia were expecting Virat Kohli to be vocal this summer but the Indian captain has let his bat do the talking.
Kohli scored his 25th Test century on Sunday morning, becoming the first player to reach three figures in Test cricket at Perth Stadium, and celebrated in unique fashion as the swelling crowd showered him with applause.
After he confidently bunted Australia spearhead Mitchell Starc down the ground to bring up his hundred, Kohli removed his helmet, put it on the ground, pointed to his bat then mimicked talking with his glove.
He had let his bat do the talking.
Virat Kohli letting his bat do the talking in Perth!#AUSvIND | @Domaincomau pic.twitter.com/ZABru6KdgE— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 16, 2018
But Kohli's stay ended on 123 in controversial fashion.
The right-hander edged paceman Pat Cummins to Peter Handscomb at second slip, who just managed to scoop his fingers under the ball to hold onto a low catch.
Handscomb was adamant he caught the ball, but Kohli was equally certain the ball did not carry, shaking his hand at the umpire when the catch was taken.
The on-field umpires deferred to the third umpire with a soft signal of out, meaning only conclusive evidence could overturn the decision.
Replays showed Handscomb had held the catch, just, much to the displeasure of the Indian fans and Kohli, who walked off the ground clearly unhappy and failed to acknowledge the ovation he received for his sparkling century.
Doesn't get much closer than that! Kohli has to go... #CloseMatters #AUSvIND | @GilletteAU pic.twitter.com/v6luCLWez1— cricket.com.au (@cricketcomau) December 16, 2018
Kohli was at the centre of a war of words the last time India and Australia squared off in Test cricket, on the subcontinent in 2017.
But with Australia's two chief protagonists out of the side through suspension, the banter between the two fierce rivals has been minimal.
Limited-overs captain Aaron Finch, who faced India in the preceding Gillette T20I Series, spoke ahead of the summer how he expected Kohli would still bring the same on-field presence he always has when the two nations have clashed.
Well played @imVkohli. One of your finest innings. This knock will be remembered for a long time. #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/Gj1dSN4k4p— Sachin Tendulkar (@sachin_rt) December 16, 2018
"Virat plays the game that gets the best out of himself, and I think that at times, for him that's about being verbal for his team, and pumping them up and being right in the contest," Finch said last month.
"So the verbal won't change whatsoever – I think what (Kohli) was referring to was his aggression, but 'verbal' is encouragement for teammates. It's not abuse or anything like that."
Kohli had gone eight Test innings against Australia without reaching 50, but that drought was snapped in imperious fashion across days two and three in Perth.
The 30-year-old was made to work for his seventh Test century against Australia. He brought up three figures from 214 balls, the second slowest of his career behind the hundred he scored against England in Nagpur in 2012.
Kohli also joins an elite group of visiting batsmen who have scored six Test centuries on Australian soil, alongside England trio Jack Hobbs (nine centuries), Wally Hammond (seven), Herbert Sutcliffe (six) and his boyhood hero Sachin Tendulkar (six).
Domain Test Series v India
Dec 14-18: Second Test, Perth Stadium
Dec 26-30: Third Test, MCG
Jan 3-7: Fourth Test, SCG
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c, wk), Josh Hazlewood (vc), Mitch Marsh (vc), Pat Cummins, Aaron Finch, Peter Handscomb, Marcus Harris, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Peter Siddle, Mitchell Starc, Chris Tremain
India squad: Virat Kohli (c), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Prithvi Shaw, Cheteshwar Pujara, Ajinkya Rahane, Hanuma Vihari, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant (wk), Parthiv Patel (wk), Ravi Ashwin, Ravi Jadeja, Kuldeep Yadav, Mohammed Shami, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav, Jasprit Bumrah, Bhuvneshwar Kumar