Aust top order batting crumbles
Australia’s top order crumbled with the bat yet again, relinquishing the ascendancy at Adelaide Oval with the hosts scrapping to 117-4 at tea on day two of the first test against India.
The home side’s star-studded pace attack exceeded expectations by restricting India to 250, completing the innings when Josh Hazlewood struck with Friday’s first ball.
But the question was always going to be whether Australia could scrape together a winning score in the absence of suspended superstars Steve Smith and David Warner, on whom they have relied so much in recent years. It’s too early to answer but Peter Handscomb and Travis Head, unbeaten on 33 and 17 respectively, face a big ask as they continue to chip away at India’s 133-run lead.
Aaron Finch, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh were swept aside as their side slipped to 87-4.
Ravichandran Ashwin, the gun offspinner whose test bowling average in Australia was an unflattering 54.71 before this game, accounted for left-handers Harris, Khawaja and Marsh.
Harris and Khawaja, who shared a watchful 45-run stand after Finch chopped on in the first over for a third-ball duck, were undone on 26 and 28 respectively by challenging, wellflighted deliveries.
Marsh’s sixth-consecutive single-figure score at test level was more of a gift.
Marsh’s eyes lit up at the sight of a wide delivery floated outside off stump by Ashwin but, rather than crack it through covers, the veteran managed a thick edge that dislodged the leg bail.
Finch, playing his first home Test, attempted a loose cover drive to a ball from Ishant Sharma that deserved more respect and ultimately uprooted two stumps.
Harris fared much better on debut, lasting 57 deliveries and surviving a testing early examination that included Jasprit Bumrah consistently slinging the ball down at more than 145 km/h. AAP