Virat Kohli looked good in Adelaide, but could not play an innings of substance. He came to the fore in Perth on spicy track against a superior Australian bowling attack. After getting rid of Australia for 326, India got off to a shocking start as they lost the openers even before the total had reached 10.
This brought Virat Kohli to the crease and he signalled his intent from the word go as he drove Josh Hazlewood for three boundaries in one over to get going in his innings. With Cheteshwar Pujara, he forged a vital partnership and then combined beautifully with Ajinkya Rahane to put India on level terms with Australia at the end of day 2.
Rahane, who was looking good on day 2, was dismissed in the first over to Nathan Lyon and once again India was under pressure. However, the captain was in the zone and dug in. He found good support in Hanuma Vihari. With a sumptuous drive down the ground, Kohli got to his 25th Test century.
'No animated celebrations'
There were no animated celebrations, no clenched fists, but then he stuck out his bat and pointed towards it as if saying that only his bat will do the talking. It was a message to the critics who have questioned his captaincy and also to people who were questioning his form against Australia.
It has to be mentioned here that former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar had questioned Kohli's captaincy on day 2, and while it cannot be definitely said that this reaction was directed towards him, it was a message nevertheless.
"Astonished, baffled not just surprised. Baffled because the ball he bowled to Paine with the second new ball towards the end of yesterday's play - pitching on a length, beating Paine and going over wicketkeeper Pant's head when somebody is bowling that way.. Why would you not give him the ball straight away at the start of the day's play?," Gavaskar told at the end of the day's play.
Former Australian captain Michael Clarke too agreed with Gavaskar and questioned Kohli's tactics when his side was in the field.
"To get wickets, Bumrah is by far the best bowler for India in this series. You've got to throw the ball to him. It's about reading the match situation. Sunny is spot on," Clarke said.