Virat Kohli can do it all in cricket across formats. He can score plenty of runs just for fun, can take wickets to get a breakthrough and now can take stunning catches to change the course of the match. This is what happened on the first day of the second Test between India and Australia at the new Perth stadium on Friday. Australia had won the toss and chosen to bat on a green deck and they made a magnificent start, with Aaron Finch and Marcus Harris slamming fifties and sharing a 112-run opening partnership. However, Jasprit Bumrah trapped Finch LBW and Umesh Yadav got the wicket of Khawaja for 5. Hanuma Vihari, the part-time offspinner, got the massive wicket of Harris for 70 as Australia stumbled.
Following the tea break, things did not get any better for the hosts. Ishant Sharma was introduced into the attack and Peter Handscomb was on strike. Ishant bowled a short ball close to the off stump and got the ball to climb up from the deck. Handscomb looked to steer it over the slips and to the third man fence but Kohli, at second slip, leapt and plucked a one-handed stunner with his right hand as Handscomb fell for 7.
Kohli’s effort is spectacular and it will give him some relief after he was at the receiving end of some brilliance from Usman Khawaja in the first Test in Adelaide. In the first innings of the first Test, on the third ball of Pat Cummins’ first over, the bowler bowled a full ball wide outside off and it bounced a bit more. Kohli reached out for the drive and the outside edge flew to gully, but Khawaja, stationed slightly wide, leapt to his left as the ball was almost past him. However, he stretched his left hand and pulled off a stunning one-handed catch to leave the Adelaide crowd in awe and Kohli shell-shocked.
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India went on to win the match by 31 runs and Kohli’s side became the first Indian team to win a first match of the Test series Down Under. Heading into the Perth game, India will be hoping to take a 2-0 lead and retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.