In­di­ans sink Aussie top or­der; Head, tail keeps them afloat

Vis­i­tors’ bowl­ing at­tack led by Ash­win finds con­stant break­throughs to re­duce hosts to 191/7, lo­cal boy fights with un­beaten 61

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE - —PTI

Adelaide: In­dia had the slight edge in a se­dately-paced bat­tle of at­tri­tion af­ter off­spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win spun the Aus­tralian top or­der into sub­mis­sion and a metic­u­lous pace ef­fort kept the home team’s scor­ing in check on the sec­ond day of the open­ing Test here on Fri­day.

Travis Head (61 bat­ting) and Pat Cum­mins (10) kept Aus­tralia in the game with a 50-run part­ner­ship in the last ses­sion but In­dia walked away with the ad­van­tage af­ter the lat­ter fell to­wards the end of day’s play.

At stumps, Aus­tralia were 191/7 in 88 overs with Ash­win be­ing their pri­mary tor­men­tor, se­cur­ing fig­ures of 3/50 in 33 overs. He was aided well by the pace duo of Jasprit Bum­rah (2/34) and Ishant Sharma (2/31).

Mitchell Starc gave Head com­pany at close of play with Aus­tralia trail­ing by 59 runs against In­dia’s first in­nings ef­fort of 250 all out.

Post tea, the hosts lost two wick­ets for 10 runs in a pas­sage of play span­ning eight overs. It was credit to In­dian bowl­ing that it kept the runs in check and reg­u­lar in­roads into the Aus­tralian line-up meant that they were never re­ally off the pump.

Peter Hand­scomb (34) was the first to fall in the last ses­sion, edg­ing a late cut off Bum­rah to wick­et­keeper Rishabh Pant. Shortly af­ter that, Ishant came up with an peach of a length de­liv­ery and cap­tain Tim Paine (5) had no choice but to play at it, only to edge it to Pant again.

Aus­tralia were strug­gling at 127/6 when the ship was stead­ied a bit thanks to the eighth-wicket part­ner­ship be­tween Head and Cum­mins.

The Adelaide-born Head started to play more shots as soon as Cum­mins came to the crease, and in do­ing so, reached his sec­ond Test half­cen­tury off 103 balls.

Ear­lier, Ash­win bowled with control as Aus­tralia were re­stricted to 117/4 at tea af­ter opener Aaron Finch was cas­tled in the first over by Ishant and his partner and debu­tant Mar­cus Harris sent back by Ash­win be­fore lunch.

Shaun Marsh (2) gifted his wicket af­ter the break in the very first over.

But the big mo­ment came in the 40th over when Ash­win got the wicket of Us­man Khawaja, who pushed one for­ward against Ash­win and gloved it to Pant.

In­dia ap­pealed and then opted for the DRS with the hotspot show­ing a tickle on Khawaja’s glove as the hosts were re­duced to 87/4. Adelaide: Debu­tant Mar­cus Harris in­sisted that Aus­tralia were still fight­ing and well in the con­test de­spite a day that was dom­i­nated by In­dia. “I thought they bowled re­ally well. The run rate’s only two and a bit, so I thought they bowled re­ally well,” Harris said. “We stuck at it pretty well. It was a tough day. It wasn’t easy to score, so I thought we fought well. Travis Head bat­ted well, Peter Hand­scomb looked good and Mitchell Starc bat­ted well at the end. I think we’re in a de­cent po­si­tion,” he added. He said that Aus­tralia did want to get on the front foot and at­tack but the In­dian bowlers’ relentless pres­sure forced them into fend­ing off overs. “You can only put bowlers un­der pres­sure if they give you an op­por­tu­nity to put them un­der pres­sure.”

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