‘INDIA BOWLED REALLY WELL’
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. No. of wickets R Ashwin has taken against left-handers at an average of 19.77. On Thursday, all 3 of Ashwin’s scalps were southpaws: Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh 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.”