Head keeps Aussies in the hunt

The Herald (Zimbabwe) - - Sport -

ADELAIDE. — 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 cricket 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 Adelaide—born 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 tail en­der 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 partner ship 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 de­liv­ery in the first over af­ter lunch, drag­ging it onto his wicket for two.

The woe­ful shot ex­tended his dire re­cent Test form and left Aus­tralia in trou­ble at 59-3. Marsh has now slumped to six con­sec­u­tive sin­gle— fig­ure scores, fail­ing to step up in the ab­sence of Smith and Warner.

Khawaja, whose Test prepa­ra­tions were dis­rupted af­ter the shock ar­rest of his brother this week for al­legedly fram­ing a love—ri­val with a fake ter­ror plot, was Ash­win's next vic­tim.

Wick­et­keeper Rishabh Pant took an ex­cel­lent catch af­ter a turn­ing ball flicked off Khawaja's glove.

He was out for 28 on a re­view de­ci­sion.

A gritty knock from Peter Hand­scomb, brought into the side for all— rounder Mitch Marsh, ended on 34 soon af­ter tea with Bum­rah brea king what was shap­ing as a handy part­ner­ship with Head.

It brought Paine to the crease, but he was un­able to stop the rot and added only five runs be­fore be­com­ing Sharma's sec­ond scalp.

Cum­mins joined Head and they be­gan to find gaps in the field as In­dia tired, putting on a 50— run stand be­fore Cum­mins was lbw to Bum­rah for 10 late in the day. — AFP.

Travis Head

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.