Perth Test: Paine, Khawaja help Australia extend lead to 233 at lunch

Perth: Captain Tim Paine and Usman Khawaja frustrated India with an unbeaten 70-run stand, helping Australia extend their lead to 233 after a wicket-less morning session on day four of the second Test here Monday. Australia reached 190-4 in their second innings at lunch on day four.

At the break, Paine was batting on 37 not out while Khawaja was unbeaten on 67 runs after a session in which Australia scored 58 runs in 30 overs.

Starting from overnight 132-4, the two batsmen negotiated the first hour in a sedate manner. They didn’t look in any rush as only 19 runs came forth.

India started with their strike bowlers Jasprit Bumrah (1-36) and Mohammed Shami (2-30), but barring a close call for run-out if it had been a direct hit, the visitors never came close to taking a wicket. Bumrah was pick of the bowlers once again, getting the ball to rear up from length and beating the batsmen on many occasions, in particular Khawaja. But the outside edge continued to elude him.

The duo stepped up on the scoring rate a bit more in the second hour of play, and added another 39 runs to the total. In doing so, Khawaja reached his 14th Test half-century off 156 balls, whilst taking the overall lead past the 200-run mark.

Indian skipper Virat Kohli and Paine were once again involved in a verbal exchange, with umpire Chris Gaffaney stepping in to ask the duo to get on with the game.

Kohli rotated his bowlers well, with Ishant Sharma (1-39), Umesh Yadav (0-51) and Hanuma Vihari (0-31) giving the requisite control.

Australia’s scoring rate came down to 1.93 per over for the session, and 2.44 per over for the entire innings as the pitch continued to pose riddles.

Earlier, the Australian team management had confirmed that opener Aaron Finch is fit enough to bat again in the second innings. He had retired hurt in the final session on day three, on 25 not out, after being hit by Shami in the 13th over.

Australia had scored 326 runs in their first innings, and India replied with 283 runs, thanks to Kohli’s 25th Test 100, thus conceding a lead of 43 runs. India lead the four-match series 1-0 after winning the first Test in Adelaide by 31 runs.