Kohli's streak of low scores continues

Virat Kohli, in this series so far, has scores of 0, 13, 12, 15 and 6 — his second lowest five-innings run in Tests. For a batsman, who has scored a double hundred in each of his previous four Test series, the low scores and the manner of his dismissals seems puzzling.

Virat Kohli, who's not even scored 20 in the ongoing series against Australia so far, has, at the most, three innings to make amends.   -  AFP

It wasn’t entirely sure if Virat Kohli would bat in India’s first innings in the ongoing third Test against Australia in Ranchi. Trying to save a boundary, he’d hurt his right shoulder and suffered a strain. In his absence, Australia scored 451, a formidable total on a surface that’s expected to aid the tricks of the slow bowlers in the fourth innings. India, ideally, must outscore, at least slightly, Australia’s total for keeping alive its hope of winning.

Then, it was confirmed Kohli would bat at his usual No. 4. Huge relief! With the top order giving the host a formidable start, Kohli was expected to put on a big partnership with Cheteshwar Pujara. But on the 23rd ball of his innings, he stepped forward to Pat Cummins and nicked a delivery that pitched on the fifth stump line, to Steve Smith at second slip.

Cummins’s delivery, at 86mph, was angling towards the Indian skipper before slightly going away after pitching. A tough delivery, yes, but Kohli’s dismissal was more due to his limited feet movement than the hurt right shoulder, for he’d driven on the up against Josh Hazlewood without any apparent discomfort.

Kohli, in this series so far, has scores of 0, 13, 12, 15 and 6 — his second lowest five-innings run in Tests. He'd aggregated 43 runs — his lowest five-innings run — against West Indies and New Zealand last year.

He nicked a full, wide ball from Mitchell Starc to first slip in the first innings in Pune. In the second innings, he let a straight one from Steeve O'Keefe to hit his off-stump. In Bengaluru, a similar judgement error against Nathan Lyon had him lbw. Then, he was trapped by an incoming Hazlewood delivery on a chapped third day wicket in the second innings.

For a batsman, who has scored a double hundred in each of his previous four Test series, the low scores and the manner of his dismissals seems puzzling and Kohli has, at the most, three more innings in this series to make amends.