Head holds on to give Australia hope
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