Off-spin­ner takes four wick­ets in fi­nal ses­sion to give Aus­tralia hope

New Straits Times - - Sport -

AUS­TRALIA off-spin­ner Nathan Lyon claimed four wick­ets in the fi­nal ses­sion to halt In­dia's progress and help re­strict the hosts to 248 for six on the sec­ond day of the Fourth Test yes­ter­day.

At 157 for two, and with the de­pend­able Chetesh­war Pu­jara and stand-in skip­per Ajinkya Ra­hane look­ing set in the mid­dle, In­dia ap­peared to have the up­per hand be­fore Lyon (4-67) in­ter­vened after the tea break.

In the first over of the fi­nal ses­sion, Lyon sent back Pu­jara for 57 and went on to dis­miss Karun Nair, Ra­hane and Ravichan­dran Ash­win to de­flate the hosts.

Ravin­dra Jadeja clob­bered a cou­ple of sixes and was bat­ting on 16 at the close, while Wrid­dhi­man Saha was on 10, hav­ing sur­vived two re­views and a dropped catch.

In­dia are still 52 runs be­hind Aus­tralia's first in­nings to­tal of 300 in the de­cider of the four-Test se­ries which is level at 1-1.

Pat Cum­mins and new ball col­league Josh Ha­zle­wood were ag­gres­sive in the morn­ing ses­sion on a pitch which of­fered whole­some bounce to the pace­men.

Ha­zle­wood was re­warded for con­stantly at­tack­ing the line out­side the off-stump when Mu­rali Vi­jay edged him to Matthew Wade to de­part for 11.

Fel­low opener Lokesh Rahul, then on 10, edged Cum­mins but the ball brushed Matt Ren­shaw's fin­ger tips at first slip be­fore rac­ing to the bound­ary.

Rahul was hit on the in­dex fin­ger of his right hand by a Ha­zle­wood de­liv­ery but the righthander re­cov­ered to score 60 and give In­dia a strong start.

The 24-year-old left well, drove el­e­gantly and slog-swept Steve O'Keefe for a six en route to his fifth half-cen­tury of the se­ries.

The sec­ond-wicket part­ner­ship was worth 87 runs and was look­ing omi­nous un­til Rahul went for a wild hook, with the bouncer hit­ting the toe end of his bat be­fore find­ing David Warner at mid off.

Ra­hane found him­self in the line of fire and the oth­er­wise de­pend­able bats­man made things dif­fi­cult for him­self by try­ing to pull and hook his way out of trou­ble.

Pu­jara, who bat­ted for more than 11 hours in the drawn third test in Ranchi for his 202, played with char­ac­ter­is­tic calm­ness at the other end and brought up his fifty with a bound­ary off Lyon.

The off-spin­ner claimed a ma­jor break­through when he ended Pu­jara's nearly three-and-half hour vigil by get­ting him caught at short leg.

Lead­ing the side in ab­sence of in­jured reg­u­lar skip­per Vi­rat Kohli, Ra­hane fell to Lyon for 46 with Aus­tralia skip­per Steve Smith tak­ing a sharp catch at slip.

Ash­win made 30 be­fore he was trapped leg-be­fore by Lyon. Reuters


Aus­tralia’s Nathan Lyon cel­e­brates tak­ing the wicket of In­dia's Chetesh­war Pu­jara yes­ter­day.

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