Australia finished Day 2 of the third Test of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in Indore looking like favourites to pull one back in the series that India are leading 2-0. Nathan Lyon’s eight-for was instrumental in skittling India out for 163 and setting the visitors a target of 76 to chase at Stumps on Day 2.
Although Cheteshwar Pujara put up a gritty 59, the rest of the batting line-up caved in with very little resistance.
Here’s a session-wise report of the day:
In a series that can probably be remembered for collapses, Australia found themselves on the receiving end of a swift one when they lost six wickets for just eleven runs in the first session.
After being comfortably placed an hour into the day at 186/5, they were skittled for 197 in the first innings, giving themselves a lead of 88 runs.
Resuming Day 2 on 156/4, Cameron Green and Peter Handscomb survived the first hour in Indore with great ease but once they were dismissed, India ripped through the rest of the order with Umesh Yadav taking three wickets.
R Ashwin, who finished with 3/44, first struck after the drinks break to dismiss Handscomb for 19. The rest was light-work for the pair.
In their second innings, India with the opening duo of Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill, went into lunch at 13/0. In a rather safe passage of play for the hosts in this match, the session belonged to them.
Australia fought back to leave India in trouble at 79/4 in their second innings at tea, losing four wickets to spinners Nathan Lyon and Matthew Kuhnemann and managing to score just 66 runs in the session.
In the very first over after the break, Gill was beaten for spin as he tried to hit across the line and was bowled middle stump for five by Nathan Lyon.
Skipper Rohit was then trapped lbw by the spinner Lyon for 12.
Virat Kohli looked to take on Kuhnemann, cutting the spinner for a glorious four, only to be trapped lbw the following ball for 13, sending a hush around the Indore ground.
Pujara gave the home crowd something to cheer about, reducing the deficit by smashing Kuhnemann for a succession of boundaries.
Lyon though proved a handful, particularly for Ravindra Jadeja, who was out lbw for seven just before the break to leave India reeling.
India were still nine runs behind at the break on a viciously turning pitch in Indore with Pujara looking assured on 36 and Shreyas Iyer yet to get off the mark.
After tea, Iyer launched a brief counterattack, attacking the spinners and quickly reached 26 off 27 balls. But before he could truly put the Australians under pressure, Usman Khawaja pulled off a stunner at mid-wicket to dismiss him.
Lyon then returned dismiss Ashwin for 16. However, despite losing Iyer, KS Bharat and Ashwin rather quickly, Pujara carried on and top-scored with a valiant 59. While he was gritting it out, after message from the Indian skipper in the dressing room, Ashwin and Axar Patel also opted to take the aerial route. It took a special moment to end Pujara’s resistance.
Just as Pujara started to look unshakeable, he was a caught brilliantly at leg slip by Steve Smith. Nathan Lyon was the pick of the Australian bowlers as he ended up taking figures of 8/64 and was instrumental in bundling India for 163. Unless the pitch misbehaves again, Australia look favourites to chase down the target of 76 runs.
With inputs from AFP