India skipper Virat Kohli will look to pick up from where he left off and hit that first double century missing from his arsenal on Day 4 of the fourth Test match against Australia in Sydney.
Kohli was his unstoppable self again, striking a wonderful century on Thursday to go along with another three-figure score from KL Rahul, who more than made up for that nightmare Test debut in Melbourne.
"Batting up the order gave me a little more time for myself," said Rahul who opened the innings, fought his way through a difficult period, rode his luck and made full use of the opportunity by striking a debut hundred.
"It was a very conscious effort to spend some time and get those early nerves off. The wicket was very slow and the bowlers made it hard by not giving anything away. I just told myself to bat through the first session and later look for runs. After I batted last night I knew that the game was still bat and ball and I got rid of all the nerves."
Rahul had played two pathetic shots on his debut in Melbourne, and this time it was more like the Rahul that we have seen in domestic cricket. "It was not the debut I had expected," admitted the right-hander candidly. "It was a nightmarish debut and it didn't make my life any easier coming here and dropping a sitter [he dropped a simple catch in the slips which would have sent Chris Rogers packing early in the first innings].
"I kept telling myself that the only way from here is up and I had to calm myself down. I came out here thinking that this is my first game. There was a lot of mental pressure. I am more relieved than proud right now."
While Rahul's batting in the India first innings is done and dusted, it will be all about Kohli again on Day 4. If the captain can bat for a couple of sessions or so, with Wriddhiman Saha, and possible R Ashwin after that, for company, then India can get as close to Australia as possible.
If Kohli loses his wicket early, though, then Australia will smell blood, play a quickfire second innings and put India under serious pressure going into Day 5. As we have seen already, India do have the habit of failing to cope under extra pressure while playing in whites – so Kohli will be the key.
"I think it will break up and spin and go up and down," said Australia coach Darren Lehmann on Thursday when asked about what he expects the pitch to do in the final two days of the fourth Test match.
"But until the end of the game, and that will depend on how we bowl in the morning and how they bat and then we probably have to be pretty aggressive to set something up."
"I think they will turn it from now on, so I think it will be a really interesting day tomorrow."
Where to Watch Live
The fourth day is set for a 10.30 am local time (5 am IST, 11.30 pm GMT, 6.30 pm ET) start with live TV coverage in India on Star Sports 1, Star Sports 3 and Star Sports HD1. Audience in India can also watch the match online via free live streaming on Starsports.com or via the Starspors Live Pro option..
Watch the fourth Test live in Australia on Channel 9, while the option to live stream is on Cricket Australia Live or the Cricket Australia Live App. Viewers in the UK can catch Day 4 of the 4th Test live on Sky Sports 2, or via live stream on Sky Go or Watch Sky Sports.
Day 4 is available live to viewers in the USA on Willow TV while the match can also be live streamed on Willow TV Online. Audience in the Middle East and North Africa can catch all the day four match action live on OSN or via live streaming online on OSN Play.