India rookies prohibit Ozto 369, batsmen should fireplace now

Brisbane, January 16

India’s rookie bowling attack dismissed Australia for 369 on the rain-hit second day of the fourth Test today, but the visitors then lost two wickets and still have a mountain to climb.

Rohit Sharma played an indiscreet shot in the air to be dismissed for 44, and the visitors were 62 for two when heavy thundershowers washed out play in the third session. Cheteshwar Pujara (8) and Ajinkya Rahane (2) were the unbeaten batsmen.

Sharma was elegant as ever in his 44 off 74 balls before Nathan Lyon enticed him out of the crease and beat him in flight, and Rohit could only sky a catch to Mitchell Starc.

Other opener, Shubman Gill (7), had fallen early when he edged Pat Cummins to Steve Smith at second slip. Sharma struck six boundaries, and he did well by not jabbing at balls outside the off stump even as Cummins and Josh Hazlewood tested him under overcast conditions. Sharma added 49 runs for the second wicket with Pujara.

Sharma looked comfortable until his dismissal, never troubled by the four-pronged attack, but just before the tea break, he went for a lofted shot off Lyon. The situation demanded sedate play, and the Mumbai star later said he did not regret playing that shot. But throwing his wicket away after getting a start can’t be allowed to become a habit. In the Sydney Test, too, he got starts (26 and 52), but was dismissed with careless shots.

Lion-hearted effort

In the first session, India’s rookie bowling line-up put up a lion-hearted effort, getting the last five wickets for 95 runs. Shardul Thakur (3/94), debutants Washington Sundar (3/89) and Thangarasu Natarajan (3/78) were the main wicket-takers, while Siraj picked up one for 77. Resuming at 274/5, Tim Paine and Cameron Green extended their stand to 98 before the home team had a mini-collapse. — TNS & agencies

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