Melbourne, December 26
Menacing bowling by Jasprit Bumrah and Ravichandran Ashwin’s guile troubled Australia on Day 1 of the second Test as they were bowled out for a below-par 195. In reply, against top-class fast bowling by Australia, India did well to reach 36/1 at stumps, debutant Shubman Gill batting on 28 and No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara unbeaten on 7.
India lost the out-of-form Mayank Agarwal for zero to Mitchell Starc, but Gill survived a hostile spell, getting dropped at third slip when he had scored only four runs. The Punjab lad went on to hit some delectable strokes, including a straight-drive and a pull, to showcase his talent.
India, desperate to bounce back from the defeat in the first Test at Adelaide, where they were bowled out for 36 in their second innings, were ably led by Ajinkya Rahane, who marshalled his resources to perfection in the 72.3 overs that Australia batted.
Bumrah (4/56 in 16 overs) and Ashwin (3/35 in 24 overs) were the stars, but debutant Mohammed Siraj (2/40 in 15 overs) also repaid the faith shown in him with the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne (48) and Cameron Green (12). Smith for 0
After Australia won the toss and batted first, it was business as usual for Bumrah as he beat the bat and got breakthroughs when it mattered on a pitch that had retained moisture. Even without the regular captain Virat Kohli, who is on paternity leave, the visitors seemed fired up, and looked more galvanised than in the first Test.
Rahane’s first success came after he introduced Ashwin inside the first hour of play after Bumrah had forced Joe Burns (0) to nick one to Rishabh Pant. Trying to attack Ashwin, Matthew Wade sent the ball high towards midwicket, where Ravindra Jadeja took a great catch despite Gill running into him, also trying take the catch.
Ashwin got the big wicket of Smith (0) with a straighter one, when Smith glanced the ball to Pujara at leg gully.
Siraj initially bowled a bit short at Labuschagne and Travis Head (38 off 92 balls) as they added 86 runs for the fourth wicket. Bumrah provided the post-lunch breakthrough when he got Head to edge one to Rahane at gully.
Siraj got lucky for his maiden wicket when Labuschagne tried to whip him down the leg side but Gill, at backward square-leg, snapped the ball inches off the ground. A few hefty blows by the tail managed to take the score close to 200. — Agencies
India, desperate to bounce back from the defeat in the first Test at Adelaide, where they were bowled out for 36 in their second innings, were ably led by Ajinkya Rahane, who marshalled his resources to perfection in the 72.3 overs that Australia batted. Punjab’s lad Shubman Gill hit some delectable strokes, including a straight-drive and a pull, to showcase his talent.