Aus­tralia blow chance to boss In­dia

CRICKET

Kalgoorlie Miner - - SPORT -

Aus­tralia missed a golden chance to ham­mer home their as­cen­dancy de­spite home­town hero Travis Head’s best ef­forts at Adelaide Oval, where his side reached 7-191 at stumps on day two of the first Test against In­dia.

The hosts’ star-stud­ded pace at­tack ex­ceeded ex­pec­ta­tions by re­strict­ing In­dia to 250, com­plet­ing the in­nings when Josh Ha­zle­wood struck with Fri­day’s first ball.

The ques­tion was al­ways go­ing to be whether Aus­tralia could scrape to­gether a win­ning score in the ab­sence of sus­pended su­per­stars Steve Smith and David Warner, on whom they have re­lied so much in re­cent years.

It’s too early to an­swer but Head, un­beaten on 61 in his first home Test, still has a lot of work to do given his team will bat last, while In­dia hold a 59-run lead.

Head, the first South Aus­tralian bats­man to play a Test in Adelaide since Darren Lehmann, fought back.

His 50-run part­ner­ship with Pat Cum­mins was Aus­tralia’s most­pro­duc­tive stand.

Aaron Finch, out for a third-ball duck in his first home Test, Mar­cus Harris, Us­man Khawaja and Shaun Marsh were swept aside as their side slipped to 4-87.

There was no chaotic col­lapse but also no bats­man ca­pa­ble of scor­ing freely on a day when In­dia de­liv­ered 31 maid­ens and Aus­tralia stroked 17 bound­aries.

In­dian le­gend Sachin Ten­dulkar was among the pun­dits to raise an eye­brow at what he termed a “de­fen­sive mind­set by the Aus­tralian bats­men at home”.

“(It) is some­thing I’ve not seen be­fore,” Ten­dulkar tweeted.

Ravichan­dran Ash­win, whose Test bowl­ing av­er­age in Aus­tralia was an un­flat­ter­ing 54.71 be­fore this game, ac­counted for left­handers Harris, Khawaja and Marsh.

Vi­rat Kohli later handed Ash­win the sec­ond new ball but the gun off­spin­ner couldn’t prise out Head or Mitchell Starc.

Harris and Khawaja were un­done on 26 and 28 re­spec­tively by chal­leng­ing, well- flighted de­liv­er­ies.

But Marsh’s sixth-con­sec­u­tive sin­gle-fig­ure score at Test level was more of a gift.

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