We’re right in this
TRAVIS Head has backed Australia to shut down India with the second new ball and chase any total India musters as a first Test dogfight reaches a crescendo.
Head said the fourth morning at Adelaide Oval could decide the series opener.
Nathan Lyon’s late surge to claim skipper Virat Kohli (34) meant the visitors (3-151) lead by 166 runs with Cheteshwar Pujara undefeated on 40 and Ajinkya Rahane on one.
“I think it is evenly poised and there was a nice little wicket there at the end. It makes for another big hour like it was on (Saturday) morning leading in to the new ball, if we can get a few wickets, put them under pressure,” Head said.
“I thought the bowlers did a wonderful job to contain and continue to put pressure on for the whole innings. If we continue to bowl the way we did the reward will come.”
Lyon was on the wrong end of two DRS verdicts that kept Pujara’s innings alive but was in “exceptional” touch, Head insisted.
“I am sure ‘Gaz’ can break that partnership in the morning. All four of the bowlers have done a wonderful job,” Head said.
Lyon probed relentlessly during 18 unchanged overs.
Kohli’s wicket was due reward, but there could have easily been many more.
“I felt like I was going to get him (Kohli) at bat pad or bowled through the gate,” said Lyon, who has dismissed Kohli five times, more than anyone.
“It was one of those days when I felt I bowled really well and could have come away with six or seven wickets.”
Curator Damian Hough’s drop-in pitch will not break up and is likely to be easier to bat on as the game progresses — giving Australia a shot of a successful chase.
“This year (in Sheffield Shield) bigger scores have been made and teams batted out draws so I think if we can get wickets with the new ball and put them under pressure, anything is gettable,” Head said.
“If we can restrict them, WA chased 313 a couple of weeks ago and Shaun (Marsh) got 163 not out. On day four and five it becomes easier to bat and we are happy to chase anything. The less the better.”
Head (72, 167 balls) was devastated not to post a maiden ton at his home venue, out to a Mohammed Shami corker in a rain-affected first session.
“It was nice to contribute, I guess. It was tough on Friday night, disappointing not to stick around with ‘Lyno’ (24no), he was hanging tough,” Head said. “It was disappointing to feel the momentum swing back.”