Rahul impresses with maiden Test ton

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Sydney, Jan 8 (IANS) The tea session on day three of the fourth and final Test entirely belonged to India with youngster Lokesh Rahul scoring his maiden century in only his second match to take India’s first innings total to 234 for two against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) here Thursday.

The visitors scored 112 runs in 30 overs in the post-lunch session without losing a single wicket as they trailed Australia by 338 runs.

Rahul (batting 106) extended his third wicket partnership with captain Virat Kohli (batting 67) to 137 runs to set up India’s chase of Australia’s first innings mammoth total of 572 for seven declared.

The day has so far belonged to India, thanks to the exploits of Rahul, who had a disastrous debut at Melbourne with scores of one and three.

However, he rose from that failure and played a patient yet composed innings to reach his century in 253 balls. His knock was highlighted by 12 boundaries and one splendid six over deep mid-wicket.

He was ably supported by Kohli, who notched yet another half century, his 11th in Test cricket.

Earlier in the morning, some tight bowling by Australia helped them restrict India to 122 for two at lunch. Resuming at 71 for one, India could manage only 51 runs in 30 overs in the morning session with a run rate of less than two per over.

The visitors started out cautiously but made sure they did not lose wickets at the start. Rohit Sharma (53) scored some runs as he reached his first half-century of the series.

However, immediately after reaching fifty he attempted a sweep off the bowling of spinner Nathan Lyon, only to misjudge the ball and be bowled.

Lyon, who is the most successful bowler of the series with 20 wickets, was lethal with the ball turning and bouncing with the changing nature of the pitch.

Australian bowlers tried their best to take more wickets but they were, uncharacteristically, not supported by their fielding.

Rahul was lucky on two occasions. Australia had a brilliant chance of running him out just after Rohit’s dismissal which they totally messed up.

He had another escape when he was dropped by Australia skipper Steven Smith, who ran back from slip to catch a top edged pull with the sun is in his eyes. The ball eventually burst through his hands into the ground.

Later, Smith also dropped Kohli just before tea at second slip.

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