TRAVIS HEAD SPARES OZ THE BLUSHES AS ASH­WIN BAGS 3 WKTS

ADELAIDE TEST Off-spin­ner takes three but an un­beaten fifty from Aus­tralian stead­ies hosts on Day 2

Hindustan Times (Lucknow) - - Front Page - Agence France-Presse sports­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com ▪

ADELAIDE: Travis Head hit a stub­born half-cen­tury to keep Aus­tralia in the hunt on Fri­day af­ter their top or­der slumped un­der sus­tained pres­sure from In­dia’s bowlers, leav­ing the first Test in Adelaide finely poised.

Bat­ting on his home ground, Head kept his cool in the hu­mid con­di­tions to be 61 not out at stumps on day two, with Mitchell Starc un­beaten on eight.

His ef­forts helped steer Aus­tralia to 191/7 in re­ply to In­dia’s 250.

Off-spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win bowled beau­ti­fully to take three wick­ets, while Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bum­rah grabbed two each.

It was Head’s sec­ond 50 in his third Test, with the Ade­laide­born 24-year-old play­ing the sort of gutsy in­nings that his more ex­pe­ri­enced team­mates couldn’t match.

All of Aus­tralia’s top four were back in the pavil­ion with­out pass­ing 30, with Aaron Finch (0) and Shaun Marsh (2) no­table fail­ures.

It once again re­in­forced how much Aus­tralia are miss­ing Steve Smith and David Warner, who re­main banned over their part in the South Africa ball­tam­per­ing af­fair.

“It was nice to do a job for the team and it will be an ex­cit­ing day on Satur­day,” said Head.

Debu­tant Mar­cus Harris, who made 26, said: “It was a tough day, it wasn’t easy to score. I think we’re in a de­cent po­si­tion.”

In­dia re­sumed on 250/9, but they were un­able to add to the to­tal with tailen­der Mo­hammed Shami out for six on the first ball of the day, caught be­hind by Tim Paine off Josh Ha­zle­wood, leav­ing Bum­rah un­beaten on 0.

Ha­zle­wood fin­ished with 3/52. Mitchell Starc, Pat Cum­mins and Nathan Lyon all took two wick­ets each.

HOR­ROR START

In re­ply, Aus­tralia got off to a hor­ror start with Finch’s cre­den­tials as an opener again called into ques­tion af­ter he was spec­tac­u­larly bowled with­out scor­ing on only the third ball he faced.

A lovely de­liv­ery from Sharma took out his mid­dle and off stumps af­ter get­ting an in­side edge as Finch at­tempted a drive.

Harris looked in good nick and un­ruf­fled by the oc­ca­sion, hit­ting three fours in his solid 26.

But he was un­done by a drift­ing ball from Ash­win, get­ting an edge to Mu­rali Vi­jay at silly mid­off and end­ing a 45-run part­ner­ship with a slimmed-down Us­man Khawaja who was back af­ter knee surgery.

Ash­win’s off spin was caus­ing problems and Marsh need­lessly slashed at a wide de­liv­ery in the first over af­ter lunch, drag­ging it onto his wicket.

The woe­ful shot ex­tended his dire re­cent Test form and left Aus­tralia in trou­ble at 59-3. Marsh has now slumped to six con­sec­u­tive sin­gle-fig­ure scores, fail­ing to step up in the ab­sence of Smith and Warner.

Khawaja, whose Test prepa­ra­tions were dis­rupted af­ter the shock ar­rest of his brother this week for al­legedly fram­ing a loverival with a fake ter­ror plot, was Ash­win’s next vic­tim.

Wick­et­keeper Rishabh Pant took an ex­cel­lent catch af­ter a turn­ing ball flicked off Khawaja’s glove. He was out for 28 on a re­view de­ci­sion.

A gritty knock from Peter Hand­scomb, brought into the side for all-rounder Mitch Marsh, ended on 34 soon af­ter tea with Bum­rah break­ing what was shap­ing as a handy part­ner­ship with Head.

REUTERS

▪ Vi­rat Kohli and Ravichan­dran Ash­win cel­e­brate the dis­missal of Mar­cus Harris (not in the pic­ture) dur­ing the sec­ond day of the first Test be­tween Aus­tralia and In­dia at the Adelaide Oval on Fri­day. In­dia are still 59 runs ahead.

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