Ahmedabad: India turned the tables on Australia, taking a 91-run lead on first innings thanks to a well-composed 186 from Virat Kohli and a quick-fire 79 from Axar Patel on the fourth day of the fourth and final Test at the Narendra Modi Stadium in Motera. After India were all out 571, Australia went to stumps at three without loss in their second innings, still 88 runs adrift.
The day belonged to Kohli, who showed immense composure and reached his 28th Test century, his first since November, 2019.
Resuming on his overnight score of 59, the former India skipper batted cautiously as Steve Smith’s spinners bowled a very tight line.
Ravindra Jadeja was dismissed early in the day for 28 after India had added just 20 to the overnight 289/3.
Shreyas Iyer, expected to walk in at the fall of the fourth wicket, did not turn up due to pain in the lower back.
However, wicketkeeper KS Bharat looked unflustered and added 84 for the fifth wicket with Kohli.
The progress prior to lunch was slow as India put on just 73 runs in 32 overs.
It was in the post-lunch session that India began to show intent with Bharat hammering Cameron Green for two sixes in an over and India taking 21 runs from it.
That set the tone and even though the wicketkeeper was dismissed soon after, caught at short-leg off Nathan Lyon (3/151), Patel took the baton and carried the charge.
The left-arm spin bowling all-rounder took his time to settle in front of his home crowd, before unleashing four sixes and five fours. He added 162 with Kohli for the sixth wicket.
India made 110 in the second session as Kohli also reached his century during the second session.
The onslaught continued in the final session as India made further 99 runs to tilt the balance in their favour. Kohli batted 364 balls, hitting 15 fours and was the last man dismissed caught in the deep.
With Australia opener Usman Khawaja unwell, Matthew Kuhnemann was sent to open with Travis Head and the two survived some tense moments.
The visitors need to bat a big part of the final day to save a game in which they held control on the first two days.