Cool Head keeps Aus­tralia alive

Daily Observer (Jamaica) - - SPORT -

Ade­laide, Aus­tralia (AFP) — Travis head hit a stub­born half-cen­tury to keep Aus­tralia in the hunt yes­ter­day 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 Ravi 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 (two) 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 ball-tam­per­ing af­fair.

In­dia re­sumed on 250-9, af­ter a bat­tling 123 from Chetesh­war Pu­jara, 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.

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.

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

But he was un­done by a drifting ball from Ash­win, get­ting an edge to Mu­rali Vi­jay at silly mid-off 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

(Pho­tos: AFP)

Aus­tralia’s bats­man Travis Head (left) cel­e­brates with team­mate Pat Cum­mins af­ter scor­ing his half-cen­tury against In­dia dur­ing day two of the first Test cricket match at the Ade­laide Oval yes­ter­day.

Aus­tralia’s bats­man Travis Head (cen­tre) plays a shot as In­dian wick­et­keeper Rishabh Pant (left) looks on dur­ing day two of the first Test match at the Ade­laide Oval yes­ter­day.

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