For greater part of the first innings, India seemed to have evaded the whole No.4 debate surrounding Virat Kohli. KL Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan had stitched a valiant 121-run stand for the second wicket to take India out of the early trouble following the dismissal of Rohit Sharma on 10. But Australia fought hard picking three wickets in a space of just five overs which included the dismissal of India's new No.4 batsman Virat Kohli by the same Adam Zampa.
Kohli averages 55 (after today) at No.4 which undoubtedly is an impressive figure and has scored seven hundreds at that batting position. But at No.3, Kohli has scored 84 per cent of his total career ODI runs and has notched up 87 per cent of his career centuries while averaging at a staggering 69. Yet, in a bid to rope in both Rahul and Dhawan in the frame, Kohli opted to sacrifice his preferred position and go as a No.4 batsman. And the result was a score of just 16 from 14 balls with just one boundary.
With the score from Kohli, the skipper's struggle at the position continued. In his last seven innings at No.4, Kohli managed only 62 runs with four single-digit scores, averaging only 10.33. And only once did he manage to not get dismissed.
And the one to get rid of the 31-year-old was the same Zampa who had troubled him in the last series in India in 2019. He kept his line intact, between middle and leg, the tactic that had got him the prized wicket thrice. But in the one short ball Zampa went with, Kohli trekked back to pull it over square leg for a six. Zampa changed his line to place a floated delivery down the off stump in the very next delivery as Kohli drove it hard. But he failed to keep it away from the bowler as the spinner took a sharp catch to dismiss the captain.
It was the fourth time, the joint-most in ODIs with England's Graeme Swann - that Zampa dismissed Kohli. In just seven innings against the skipper, the leggie conceded 126 runs with the batter striking at almost 130.
The idea of Kohli playing down the order has not worked for the Indian team or for his batting average, neither in ODIs, nor in T20Is.
Nine deliveries later, India lost Shreyas Iyer on 4 off 9, who was shifted down to No.5 owing to Kohli's ploy. And India, from a strong 134 for 1 at the 28th over, went down to 164 for five in the 33rd over.