R Ashwin, Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah bowled sensational spells to keep India in the contest after they were bowled out for 250 in their first innings of the first Test against Australia in Adelaide.
Ashwin was the pick of the bowlers, picking up 3 for 50 as Australia finished Day 2 on 191 for 7, trailing India by 59 runs. Travis Head fought hard for Australia and remained unbeaten on 61 with Mitchell Starc for company.
Resuming at their overnight score of 250 for 9, India lost Mohammed Shami to the first ball of the day. At one stage in the first session of the opening day, India were tottering at 41 for 4 but Cheteshwar Pujara bailed the visitors out of choppy waters with a classy 123.
With the focus on them on the second day, India’s bowlers stood up and delivered. Ishant Sharma produced a peach to snuff out Aaron Finch off the third ball of Australia’s innings. Debutant Marcus Harris and Usman Khawaja then added 45 for the second wicket in a show of resilience but India’s off-spinner was yet to have his say.
Ashwin snared Harris with a flighted delivery as Murali Vijay took an easy catch at silly mid-off. Soon after, Ashwin removed Shaun Marsh who dragged the ball back on to his stumps.
At 59 for 3, Australia were in serious trouble unless Khawaja and Peter Handscomb churned out something special. There was suddenly a spring in the steps of the Indian fielders and Rishabh Pant was vocal and chirpy behind the stumps.
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“Everyone here isn’t Pujara, lads,” Pant yelled and it was clear India had sensed blood. Khawaja was composed and patient against India’s top-drawer bowling attack but Ashwin turned out to be a little too wily for Australia’s biggest hope in the absence of Steve Smith and David Warner.
Ashwin got one to spin away from Khawaja and the ball touched his gloves en route to wicket-keeper Pant. Handscomb and Travis Head got together with a mammoth task on their hands.
After nearly 18 overs of stubborn resistance, the partnership was broken when Handscomb played a lose shot against Bumrah and Pant gleefully accepted the catch.
India were rewarded further for their discpiline before the day ended.
Ishant’s full delivery got rid of Australia captain Tim Paine while Bumrah picked his second wicket when he trapped Pat Cummins infront of the wicket.
Head and Starc have plenty of work to do on the third day. For starters, they would look to go past India’s first innings total before thinking of a substantial enough lead to regain control of what has been a fascinating Test match.