India vs Australia: Virat Kohli sends out warning to Mitchell Starc and Co; Warms up in style for first Test

Virat Kohli looked in fine flow during his knock against Cricket Australia XI as he had the drives and flicks coming from the middle of the bat in Sydney.

India skipper Virat Kohli has made his intentions very clear as he warmed up for the opening Test of the series against Australia with a fifty at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Thursday. With Cricket Australia XI winning the toss and deciding to field, it was the perfect opportunity for the Indian batsmen to adapt to the conditions. The overhead cloud cover further ensured that the batsmen got a good taste of what is expected to be a grueling challenge from the Australian pace attack in the four-match series.

Kohli looked in fine flow as he had the drives and flicks coming from the middle of the bat and the otherwise cautious batsman even sent one over the ropes as his 87-ball knock of 64 consisted of seven boundaries and a six. This will be good news for the team as the skipper needs to lead from the front if India are to win their first series in Australia.

Earlier, while opener KL Rahul faltered once again, scoring just 3, his partner Prithvi Shaw showed true class and elegance as he hit a 69-ball 66. Rahul’s failure could once again see Murali Vijay back at the top. Earlier former India opener and captain Sunil Gavaskar had said that he wanted Shaw and Vijay to open in the first Test as that would be the perfect combination with Shaw taking on the bowlers and Vijay holding one end up.

Interestingly, Pujara too made most of the opportunity as he hit a patient 89-ball 54 after Ian Chappell had said that India could gamble with the idea of playing Rohit Sharma instead of Pujara in the first Test as that would give the skipper an ally in handling the short-pitched stuff that the likes of Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood are expected to dish out to the Indians.

The opening day of the game was washed off as incessant rain kept the players away. It started raining in Sydney on Tuesday night and after a deluge through the day, the ground was soaking wet. There was a brief stoppage in rain at 1 pm local time and the grounds men worked hard to get the pitch and outfield ready. Toss was scheduled for 3.30pm local time with play to commence at 4 pm. But play was abandoned for the day at 3 pm local time, with half an hour extension from day two onwards.