Ashwin’s double blow reduces Australia to 65/three at lunch

Melbourne, December 26

Senior off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin’s double strike helped India reduce Australia to 65 for 3 on the opening session of the Boxing Day Test here on Saturday.

Skipper Ajinkya Rahane made some impressive captaincy moves which enabled India gain the upper hand on a track that offered turn and bounce on the first session of a Test match.

Jasprit Bumrah (1/7 in 8 overs) struck for the visitors in the fifth over, removing Joe Burns for a duck as the batsman nicked a delivery that just moved a bit after hitting the seam to Rishabh Pant behind the stumps.

Introduced into the attack in the 11th over, Ashwin struck in his second over when Matthew Wade (30 off 39) went for a glory shot over square leg, only to get a top edge and Jadeja holding on to the catch despite a collision with an onrushing debutant Shubman Gill.

An over later, Ashwin (2/17 in 9 overs) was again on the money, this time accounting for the big fish Steve Smith (0) as he got one that was tossed and the former skipper tried to glance one only to find new vice-captain Cheteshwar Pujara pouch it at leg gully.

At the break, Marnus Labuschagne was batting on 28 in the company of Travis Head (4 not out).

Labuschagne did hit some good shots but also looked a bit edgy in between. He survived a leg before decision when Ashwin trapped him with flight but the Umpire’s Review showed that the ball was missing the stumps. PTI

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