India's captain Kohli in doubt for Australia showdown
Mar 25 2017 by Dustin Murphy
He couldn't. He wanted to do some catching practice. From Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb's combative fourth-wicket partnership denying an Indian victory to Pujara's record-breaking third double hundred, to captain Virat Kohli injuring his shoulder in an attempt to save a boundary, not a single day went without talking points. Instead, there were discussions, discussions and more discussions. Clarke said even skipper Steve Smith won't be bothered by what the Australian media is writing. Shreyas Iyer has been called up as his cover.
Who will captain India in Kohli's absence? He carried a bat and proceeded for some throwdowns with batting coach Sanjay Bangar. Despite talks of Bird replacing O'Keefe, Australia will not risk going in with just one spinner.
Ajinky Rahane, on the other hand, is nearly the polar opposite of Kohli in this way.
That insinuation was rejected out of hand by Smith, who did admit to transgressing once himself while out in the middle during the second Test.
Standing close to Kohli and Co. was national selector Sarandeep Singh, who seemed to be observing everything very closely before disappearing into the dressing room behind Kohli and Farhart. "If it's selling their news, good luck to them", Kohli said today at the pre-match media conference. He played an aggressive innings surviving the sledges of the Australians and attacking the bowlers, hitting them for fours and sixes all over the park.
Tensions have been ramped up since Kohli stopped just short of accusing Australian captain Steve Smith of cheating in the aftermath of the second Test in Bangalore, which India won to level the series at 1-1. It has worked for Kohli scored only 45 runs in five innings. They have systematically targeted the Indian skipper in this series, using every possible avenue, including current and former cricketers, commentators, media outlets and even administrators. The pressure is still firmly on them being 1-1 going into this decider and all the pressure is on them. Neither R Ashwin nor Nathan Lyon had as much impact as expected in Ranchi, and only partly because they missed the footmarks provided by the injured Mitchell Starc. But the win in Pune changed everything.
"I see the Australian in Virat Kohli".
Kohli praised Australian performance. The tourists have enormous respect for Pujara's concentration and shot selection, but also feel that a little extra bounce could be the way to defeat him. With the match also signalling the end of what turned out to be a rather long stretch of matches on home soil, the Indians would like to sign off on a winning note.
The Aussies clearly saved the best for last though: a newspaper likened Virat to Donald Trump and Cricket Australia chief James Sutherland too jumped in the mix, saying "I am not sure he knows how to spell the word" when asked if Virat should be made to say sorry to Smith.