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Cricket
Kohli defiant but Australia still on top
Australia have a huge advantage going into the fourth day while Pakistan take some late wickets against England.
Last Modified: 26 Jan 2012 21:02
Siddle (C) subjected India to another difficult day at the crease taking five wickets [AFP] 

Virat Kohli scored his maiden Test century and India's bowlers claimed some early scalps in Australia's second innings but the hosts retained their dominant position after three days of the fourth and final Test at the Adelaide Oval.

Kohli's 116 was the standout innings on Thursday in another disappointing batting performance by India, who were bowled out for 272, conceding a 332-run first-innings lead. Peter Siddle took 5-49 for Australia.

India collapsed from 225-5 just before tea, losing their final five wickets for 47 runs to the second new ball.

The hosts elected not to enforce the follow-on and at stumps were 50-3 in their second innings, with an overall lead of 382 and with in-form pair Michael Clarke (9 not out) and Ricky Ponting (1 not out) to resume on day four.

After just 10 wickets had fallen across the first two days, 10 wickets fell on the third day, an early sign of pitch deterioration which would have played a role in the decision to bat again, and leave India the fourth innings.

"Adelaide is one pitch you don't want to bat last. It's about consuming some time and get some runs... It's already showing early signs of deterioration. We're in a very good position"

Australia's Peter Siddle

All eyes on Thursday were on Sachin Tendulkar, who could not have asked for a more benign pitch as he sought to finally score his elusive 100th international century.

But within the first hour, Tendulkar disappointed the packed Australia Day crowd and fell for 25. He has now gone a career-worst 23 innings without a century. He will likely get one more chance on this pitch in this final Test, with one-dayers to follow.

Siddle (5-49) removed Tendulkar, caught at second slip by Ponting, and opener Gautham Gambhir (34), caught when fending a short ball, in the space of nine balls of the morning session.

Siddle bowled a disconcertingly line and length and was richly rewarded for the effort with his fifth five-wicket haul in a 31 Test career. He took his series tally to 22 wickets at an average of 17.36.

"I am pretty happy whenever I take five-for,'' said Siddle.

"The pressure we built up again and the way we bowled as a unit just shows... someone is getting the reward (and today) it was me."

Siddle believes there is still plenty of time left in the Test to force a result and secure a 4-0 series sweep.

"Adelaide is one pitch you don't want to bat last. It's about consuming some time and get some runs, and try and bat them out of the game. It's already showing early signs of deterioration. We're in a very good position.''

Slightly under-Cooked 

Alastair Cook was philosophical after falling six runs short of making his 20th Test century on Thursday, a feat that would have put him level with compatriots Graham Gooch and Ken Barrington and joint fourth on England's all-time list.

Cook's 94 helped England reach 207 for five against Pakistan in the second Test in Abu Dhabi on Thursday, 50 runs behind the hosts.

Cook and Jonathan Trott shared a second-wicket partnership of 139, before the Essex opener was trapped lbw by Saaed Ajmal six short of his century.

Cook (C) walks back to the pavilion after getting agonisingly close to a century [AFP] 

"When you are in the 90s you are thinking about the 100, but when that ball was coming down I was just trying to watch the ball," Cook told reporters.

"It's obviously disappointing when you get so close to a landmark, it took five hours to get there and it would have been good to finish it off."

He has taken just 74 Tests to record 19 Test hundreds - Gooch made his 20 over 118 matches - so the 27-year-old's time will surely come, but he faces a race with team mates Kevin Pietersen and Andrew Strauss who are also on 19 centuries.

"It's always frustrating to work so hard to get a milestone and then fall short of it, but it beats last week when I got three and five," said Cook.

His wicket prompted a late England slump, but the tourists are still a much improved side from the one humiliated in last week's first Test in Dubai, Cook scoring just eight runs over two innings as England lost by 10 wickets.

Pakistan off-spinner Ajmal took 10 wickets in that Test and after 25 fruitless overs in Abu Dhabi he again ripped through England's middle order to end with three for 67.

"It's a different pitch - in Dubai (the ball) was skidding on and there was only a tiny bit of movement," said Cook.

"Here, it spun a little bit more without that skid, so we probably played him (Ajmal) better here than we did in Dubai.

"When you face a guy a little bit more you tend to feel more comfortable."

Source:
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