Mitchell Johnson suffers as India hits back
TWELVE months ago, Mitchell Johnson had England running scared of his short ball.
Yesterday, Ajinkya Rahane and Virat Kohli said "bring it on" as they put India right back into the third Test at the MCG, reaching 8-462 at stumps on day three, in reply to Australia's 530.
Rahane's innings was a gem, smashing 147 off 171 deliveries, while Kohli also registered three figures in his gritty knock of 169.
Part of a new generation of high-quality Indian batsmen, it was the 26-year-old Rahane's third ton in just his 13th Test.
And all of them have come away from home, with his team showing vast improvement in foreign conditions.
Rahane took Johnson (1-133) to the cleaners in the 101st over, smashing him for three fours.
Minutes earlier Kohli did the same - pulling the feared left-arm quick for three boundaries.
By that stage - just after tea - the pair had well and truly established its dominance, a long way into a monster 262-run partnership.
They certainly had Lady Luck assist them, though.
When Rahane was 70, off spinner Nathan Lyon put him down, and it was an absolute sitter off his own bowling. The score was 3-275 then and that could have been a game changer, with the new ball due the next over.
It was the slowness of the return catch which seemed to stun Lyon.
Not long afterwards, it was Kohli's time for a slice of luck.
With 287 on the board, the fiery batsman edged a 146kmh Johnson thunderbolt to Shane Watson at first slip, Watson diving to his left and grassing the sharp chance.
Just 10 runs later, Kohli skied an attempted pull shot which wicketkeeper Brad Haddin dashed after, diving just short.
India got straight back to business after that, Rahane scoring his maiden ton Down Under, slashing at a wide Watson delivery which raced for four over gully.
Kohli joined him not long afterwards, cover-driving Lyon for four to bring up his third century of this series, and his fifth against Australia.
The 26-year-old seemed to enjoy a verbal altercation with Johnson when on 84, after Johnson hurled a ball at him with Kohli out of his crease, before striking him.
Kohli slashed at a wide one which went for four to finish that over before exchanging words with the paceman, before Watson put him down off Johnson's next over.
Rahane and Kohli then made the Aussies pay while targeting the new-ball quick, going at over 4.50 per over.
Earlier in the day, Haddin took a screamer - a right-hand diving effort, while horizontal to the ground, off Ryan Harris' bowling to have India 2-108 in the first over of the day with Cheteshwar Pujara the man out for 25.
After the long Rahane and Kohli partnership, the hosts bounced back late in the day taking 5-53, Harris the pick of the bowlers with 4-69.
And Haddin took another screamer in the same fashion in the last over, dismissing Kohli for 169 off Johnson's bowling.