Indian captain Virat Kohli timed his innings perfectly, sharing an 81-run partnership with Vijay Shankar. Photo: Mal Fairclough/AP

NAGPUR – Skipper Virat Kohli smashed his 40th century to guide India to 250 on a challenging pitch in the second one-day international against Australia on Tuesday.

Kohli hit 10 fours in his 120-ball knock, and held anchor on a track that appeared to aid bowlers after Australian captain Aaron Finch elected to bat in the day-night game.

The Indians got off to a rocky start, losing openers Rohit Sharma and Shikhar Dhawan (21) early in the innings.

Sharma (0) top-edged off Adam Zampa and Dhawan (21) was given out lbw, after Australia’s appeal was upheld on review.

India had no such luck as Ambati Rayudu’s decision to appeal against the on-field umpire’s lbw decision was turned down, the hosts reduced to a shaky 75/3.

Kohli, the world’s top-ranked ODI batsman, went for on the counter-attack, hitting two fours off the last two balls of the 18th over by Zampa to underline his top form.

The 30-year-old skipper timed his innings perfectly, stitching an 81-run partnership with Vijay Shankar, who impressed during his 41-ball 46 before being run out by Zampa.

Zampa struck again soon after, dismissing Kedar Jadhav (11) and Mahendra Singh Dhoni (0) off successive balls to stun the home crowd into silence.

But Kohli looked unfettered at the other end, reaching his 40th ODI century with a four over backward point. 

The flamboyant captain removed his helmet and raised his bat to acknowledge the applause from the crowd and the dressing room.

Kohli’s innings ended when he holed a simple catch to Marcus Stoinis off Pat Cummins, who picked up four late wickets.

India’s innings folded in the 48th over soon after Kohli’s departure, with the hosts unable to see out their 50 overs.

Australia had made two changes to their side, bringing in Shaun Marsh and Nathan Lyon in place of Ashton Turner and Jason Behrendorff.

India retained the side that won the opening game in Hyderabad by six wickets to go 1-0 up in the five-match series.