Adelaide, December 18
Ravichandran Ashwin wreaked havoc with three quick wickets, including the prized scalp of Steve Smith, as India took control by reducing Australia to 92 for 5 at tea on the second day of the opening day/night Test here on Friday.
Courtesy Ashwin’s figures of 11-3-27-3, India successfully managed to neutralise a poor first innings score of 244 as Australia literally got into a shell during the 48 overs that they faced in the first two sessions.
After Jasprit Bumrah (14-7-21-2) removed the two openers in the first session, Ashwin did the star turn in the second session even as Marnus Labuschagne (46 batting, 103 balls) got multiple reprieves during his audacious knock.
Ashwin set up Smith with a few that were flighted with the angle and then bowled one that straightened and bounced a touch more. Smith, expecting turn, squared up and Ajinkya Rahane at first slip made no mistake.
Travis Head (7) wasn’t reading Ashwin well and the left-hander got a flighted one which took the leading edge of his bat, which ended in a chest-high return catch for the bowler.
Debutant Cameron Green (11) would curse himself as his was a long hop asking to be pulled but the extra bounce got the top edge and captain Virat Kohli pulled off a fabulous catch at mid-wicket diving full-stretch to his right.
However, Ashwin can give a lot of credit to Bumrah, who bowled a brilliant opening spell to send back the Australian opening pair of Joe Burns (8 off 41 balls) and Matthew Wade (8 off 51 balls) for identical scores.
The Australian openers were ready to stay put and wait but Bumrah angled a fuller one into Wade, which rapped him on the pads while he was trying to whip it to mid-wicket.
Burns, the man going through a bad patch, had changed his stance to a more open-chested one. He also did all the hard work but he was susceptible to being leg before.
Bumrah fired one fast and full into the block-hole and got the decision in his favour as Umpire’s Call in the DRS went India’s way.
Labuschagne was insanely lucky when Bumrah dropped a dolly at fine leg after the batsman had mistimed a pull shot off Shami.
Before that it was a diving Wriddhiman Saha, who missed a tough but gettable edge off Bumrah’s bowling.
After the dinner break, Labuschagne on 21, was dropped by Prithvi Shaw at square leg and that was also a mistimed pull-shot.
At the start of the day, India’s tail-enders contributed precious little and the visitors’ the first innings folded in just 93.1 overs.
Mitchell Starc (4/53 in 21 overs) and Pat Cummins (3/48 in 21.1 overs) dismissed the last four batsmen for an addition of only 11 runs to the overnight score. PTI