Head stead­ies Aussies after early wob­bles against In­dia

Weekend Herald - - Your Sporting Weekend -

Travis Head res­cued Aus­tralia with a half-cen­tury on the sec­ond day of the first test after In­dia’s dis­ci­plined bowl­ing at­tack had threat­ened to take con­trol in Ade­laide yes­ter­day.

In re­ply to In­dia’s first in­nings of

250, Aus­tralia reached stumps at

191-7, with Head 61 not out and Mitchell Starc un­beaten on 8. Head played a lone hand and shared a valu­able 50-run sev­enth-wicket part­ner­ship with Pat Cum­mins.

Aus­tralia looked set for a size­able first-in­nings deficit after los­ing Peter Hand­scomb (34) and cap­tain Tim Paine shortly after tea, slump­ing to

127-6. Bat­ting with Cum­mins, Head notched his sec­ond test half-cen­tury.

In­dia spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win claimed 3-50 from 33 overs, while quicks Jasprit Bum­rah and Ishant Sharma picked up two wick­ets apiece.

The tem­per­a­ture in Ade­laide neared 40 de­grees but cloud cover pro­vided favourable con­di­tions for In­dia’s at­tack. Ash­win car­ried a heavy work­load and bowled un­changed from the mid­dle of the first ses­sion through to tea. He also took the new ball but could not add to his tally of wick­ets.

In­dia bowled with ac­cu­racy and sti­fled the scor­ing on the two-paced pitch. They snared the wick­ets of both Aus­tralian open­ers in the first ses­sion, in­clud­ing Aaron Finch for a third-ball duck. The hard-hit­ting Finch drove loosely at a full de­liv­ery and in­side-edged on to his stumps, which went cartwheel­ing.

Finch be­came just the fifth Aus­tralian bats­man to be dis­missed with­out scor­ing in his home test de­but.

Mar­cus Har­ris, mak­ing his test de­but, fell just be­fore lunch when he prod­ded a full Ash­win de­liv­ery to Mu­rali Vi­jay at silly point. Har­ris made 26 runs from 57 balls.

Ash­win con­tin­ued to men­ace Aus­tralia in the sec­ond ses­sion with bounce and spin, which ac­counted for the prized wicket of Us­man Khawaja, who was caught be­hind off the glove. Khawaja, Aus­tralia’s most ac­com­plished bats­man, strug­gled to find his flu­ency and made a painstak­ing 28 off 125 balls.

Ash­win had ear­lier dis­missed Shaun Marsh, who is un­der im­mense pres­sure hav­ing scored just 90 runs in his last 11 test in­nings.

Pace­man Mo­hammed Shami bowled un­trou­bled after an ear­lier in­jury scare. He re­ceived treat­ment on his left shoul­der just be­fore lunch and briefly left the field.

Aus­tralia dis­missed In­dia on the first ball of the morn­ing, with Shami edg­ing a short Josh Ha­zle­wood de­liv­ery to be caught be­hind. Chetesh­war Pu­jara top-scored with 123.

Photo / Getty Im­ages

Un­beaten on 61, Travis Head led the way for Aus­tralia.

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