Head holds on to give Aus­tralia hope

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - SPORTS -

REUTERS - Travis Head scored an un­beaten half cen­tury on his home de­but to give Aus­tralia hope of reel­ing in In­dia’s first in­nings lead at the close of day two of the first Test yesterday.

Aus­tralia were 191 for seven, with Head 61 not out and tailen­der Mitchell Starc on eight, still 59 runs short of In­dia’s mod­est to­tal of 250 af­ter an­other bak­ing hot day at Adelaide Oval.

Tim Paine’s side re­sumed on 117 for four af­ter tea, with Peter Hand­scomb and Head tasked with sal­vaging the in­nings af­ter spin­ner Ravichan­dran Ash­win tore through the top or­der with three wick­ets.

Hand­scomb promptly threw away his wicket for 34 try­ing to fend Jasprit Bum­rah to third man with an an­gled bat, a thick edge pouched by Rishabh Pant.

Aus­tralia were soon re­duced to 127 for six when Cap­tain Tim Paine edged a lead­en­footed drive be­hind off Ishant Sharma to be out for five af­ter a tor­tured 20-ball in­nings.

The home side looked primed for a col­lapse but Pat Cum­mins and Head com­bined for a rare bout of re­sis­tance.

Af­ter a grind­ing af­ter­noon at the crease, Head tried to lift the run-rate against an ageing ball, smash­ing Mo­hammed Shami with a cou­ple of fine drives to the fence.

He cut a Mu­rali Vi­jay de­liv­ery through the cov­ers for a sin­gle to raise warm ap­plause from the sun-baked crowd.

He and Cum­mins carved out Aus­tralia’s first 50-run part­ner­ship but their stand was bro­ken as soon as the sec­ond new ball was taken.

Cum­mins de­clined to play a shot against a sear­ing Bum­rah de­liv­ery and was given out lbw. He then squan­dered a re­view at­tempt­ing to over­turn the de­ci­sion de­spite the ball thud­ding into his rear pad, di­rectly in front.

Starc and Head ne­go­ti­ated the ner­vous fi­nal overs to give Aus­tralia hope of mus­ter­ing enough runs on day three to re­main com­pet­i­tive.

In­dia lost their fi­nal wicket on the first ball of the morn­ing but Aus­tralia’s bats­men were equally quick to squan­der the ad­van­tage.

In­dia: 250 (C. Pu­jara 123, R. Sharma 37, R. Pant 25, R. Ash­win 25, Starc 2/63, Ha­zle­wood 3/52, Cum­mins 2/49, Lyon 2/83)

Aus­tralia: 191/7 (M. Harris 26, U. Khawaja 28, P. Hand­scomb 34, T. Head 61 n.o, Sharma 2/31, Bum­rah 2/34, Ash­win 3/50).

Travis Head plays a shot

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