Khawaja and Handscomb fifties give Australia an opportunity

India 21 for 0 (Rohit 13*, Rahul 4*) path Australia 263 (Khawaja 82, Handscomb 72*, Shami 4-60, Ashwin 3-57, Jadeja 3-68) by 242 runs

In one of many solely two Tests India have misplaced at house within the final 10 years, Australia gained the toss on a turning monitor and posted 261 in Pune in 2016-17. They batted with comparable urgency after successful the toss on a Delhi pitch the place they performed only one seamer, and managed to get to 263.

Australia will probably be hoping the similarities endure regardless that the black-soil monitor of Delhi acquired higher to bat on because the day progressed. The pitch began off with extra flip than Nagpur had on day one and likewise extra bounce than is common in Delhi, however batting seemed simpler because the day progressed.

R Ashwin seemed essentially the most threatening bowler, working over two lengthy spells for to choose up 3 for 57 in 21 overs, together with the wickets of Marnus Labuschagne and Steven Smith in the identical over moments earlier than lunch. Mohammed Shami bowled attacking strains and lengths, which confirmed in his financial system charge of over 4, however he additionally produced 4 wickets. It wasn’t the very best of days for Ravindra Jadeja, who went at 3.23 an over and conceded boundaries commonly off the again foot, was nonetheless ok to take three wickets.

Usman Khawaja and Peter Handscomb had been the standout batters for Australia. When India had been at their most threatening with Ashwin and Mohammed Siraj bowling in tandem within the first session, Khawaja went reverse-sweeping and sweeping to ensure they denied the bowlers a stationary goal. It labored completely for Khawaja, even leading to a deep fielder only for the reverse-sweep, till a well-timed reverse-sweep led to a blinder of a catch for KL Rahul at cover-point. The opener was 19 wanting 100.

Handscomb was extra orthodox and warranted, trusting his defence, ready for the unfastened ball and, every now and then, creating back-foot photographs. When Khawaja and Handscomb added 59 for the fifth wicket within the center session, Australia seemed essentially the most in management they’ve been all sequence. However, additionally they suffered three double blows: shedding Labuschagne and Smith on 91, then Khawaja and Alex Carey on 167 and 168, and Pat Cummins and Todd Murphy on 227. Handscomb stayed unbeaten on 72, including 19 and 17 for the ninth and tenth wickets.

Coming into essentially the most troublesome project in cricket – a Test sequence in India – you need all of your assets, however Australia nonetheless did not have Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Cameron Green accessible. The absence of Green presumably resulted in yet another Test for David Warner, who copped a blow on the hand and on the helmet, spent half an hour and not using a run and with a nick off Shami, he now has the worst common for many who has opened in no less than 10 Tests in India.

Australia nonetheless added 50 for the primary wicket at the same time as Warner seemed out of types because of Khawaja’s aggressive intent. When Khawaja and Labuschagne acquired collectively, they even started to focus on the bowlers.

In Nagpur, Rohit Sharma had been impatient with bowling modifications as a result of he did not need to concede fast runs on a troublesome monitor. Here, he trusted Ashwin even when Labuschagne attacked him first ball he confronted him. Ashwin had bowled fantastically within the first session for little reward – very like Siraj – however simply earlier than lunch, the rewards got here his method.

An offbreak was good sufficient to show previous Labuschagne’s inside edge however not sufficient to overlook the stumps. He additionally had his captain supporting him in a DRS evaluate for lbw. Two balls later, an analogous launch, an analogous seam place, went on with the angle to take Smith’s edge.

Travis Head, changing Matt Renshaw, seemed to assault, and though he seemed most uncomfortable in opposition to Ashwin, it was Shami who took the wicket. The supply was much like the one which he acquired Warner with: wanting a size, angling in from around the wicket, however holding its line off the seam.

That introduced collectively Handscomb and Khawaja, who hardly scored down the bottom off the spinners. That reverse-sweep nearly turned the push down the bottom for a single. He picked his spots fantastically. Dry durations did not frustrate him. He waited for his moments, after which cashed in. There was one such interval when he was sweeping fantastically. In the forty sixth over, he tapped Jadeja for a reverse-sweep for 4, and smashed the following one. Rahul, although, leapt to his proper, caught his hand out, and pulled off a stunner. Immediately Ashwin took out Carey with a catch at slip.

If Khawaja scored 29 off his 81 runs by means of sweeps, Handscomb’s success lay in scoring 32 off 59 balls from Jadeja with out trying in any hassle. With Pat Cummins, he added 59 for the seventh wicket. However, Jadeja did discover that one good over to show the sport once more. When he went wider on the crease, the ball turned lower than Cummins anticipated due to the angle, and trapped him lbw. Two balls later, Todd Murphy performed a unfastened drive to get bowled.

India maybe needed to attend for the brand new ball earlier than bringing Ashwin again, however Shami discovered reverse-swing with the outdated ball to make the brand new ball pointless. Both his final wickets, Nathan Lyon and debutant Matt Kunhemann, had been bowled.

India managed to outlive the 9 overs earlier than stumps and not using a loss, however the shooter off the penultimate supply of the day arrange the remainder of the Test deliciously.

Sidharth Monga is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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