Aussies lose top four as Ashwin strikes big before tea

File photo of Ashwin

Adelaide: Australia made a slow but steady start to reach 113 for 4 before tea on Day 2 of the first Test against India here on Friday.

This was after India were bowled out for 250 from 88 overs on the very first ball of the morning session.
Handscomb and Travis Head were at the crease.

Mohammed Shami (6) showed no patience at all, and went after a short delivery from Josh Hazlewood (3/52) only to be caught behind down leg side, as India’s first innings came to a quick end.

Mitchell Starc (2/63), Pat Cummins (2/49) and Nathan Lyon (2/83) finished with two wickets each.

Thereafter, Australia did not have the best of starts as Ishant Sharma (1/9) bowled Aaron Finch (0) with a fuller, inswinging delivery on only the third ball of their innings. It was a hectic start to the day’s play, but Khawaja and debutant opener Marcus Harris (26) settled down to provide a solid start for the hosts.

The duo batted out 20.4 overs and put on 45 runs for the second wicket, already higher than any partnership for the top-four Indian wickets.

Indian pacers bowled with fiery pace, with Jasprit Bumrah even breaching the 150 km/hr mark at one point. However, they bowled short of good length on most occasions and did not make the Australian batsmen play too many deliveries.

For their part, both Harris and Khawaja were content with leaving as many deliveries as possible, and struck only four boundaries between them.

Ravichandran Ashwin was introduced into the attack in the 12th over of the innings, and immediately hit up an interesting duel with Harris. The cover drive came out against the spinner, expectedly as a few more runs started flowing. Mostly they came off Bumrah, who erred in line and length.

Even Mohammed Shami bowled a tad short of length as the batsmen contended him with ease. Ashwin then struck before lunch. Harris played on to his pads and was caught at silly point in the 22nd over, as the spinner got dividends for blocking all scoring opportunities.

Australia’s 50 came up in the 27th over thereafter. Khawaja was out for 28 while Shaun Marsh was bowled by Ashwin for 2.

On Day 1, Cheteshwar Pujara’s (123) 16th Test hundred saved India the blushes, after they were reduced to 86-5 at one stage.

Agency