India had the slight edge in a sedately-paced battle of attrition after R Ashwin cleaned up the Australian top-order and a meticulous pace effort kept the home team’s scoring in check on the second day of the opening Test in Adelaide.
Travis Head (61 not out) and Pat Cummins (10) kept Australia in the game with a 50-run partnership in the last session but India walked away with the advantage after the latter fell towards the end of day’s play.
At stumps, Australia were 191/7 in 88 overs with Ashwin being their primary tormentor, with figures of 3/50 in 33 overs. He was aided well by the pace duo of Jasprit Bumrah (2/34) and Ishant Sharma (2/31).
Mitchell Starc (8 not out) was giving Head company at close of play with Australia trailing by 59 runs against India’s first innings effort of 250 all out, the highlight of which was Cheteshwar Pujara’s fighting hundred.
On day two, the Indian bowlers displayed impressive discipline, and were led by Ashwin and Ishant, two senior pros in the longest format.
For Australia, their weakness in the batting lineup in the absence of David Warner and Steve Smith was exposed before Head led a mini recovery.
With a lot expected of him, Shaun Marsh let his team down with a poor shot, going after a wide, tossed up delivery from Ashwin and chopping it onto the stumps. His poor run – seventh consecutive single digit score in Tests – could be a big concern for Australia.
Australia’s batting, overall, looked pedestrian for most part of the day, with Sachin Tendulkar expressing his surprise at a defensive approach that he had never seen before.
A big part of Australia’s struggles on Friday was orchestrated by Ashwin, who had figures of 33-9-50-3.
All three of his wickets were left-handed batsmen, against whom he enjoys bowling.
As it stands , this is Ashwin’s second most economical bowling performance in his Test career away from home. In Tests outside the subcontinent, this is the most economical he has been.
Ashwin's most economical spells away from home
|Venue / Opposition||Innings||Figures|
|Fatullah, Bangladesh (2015)||3rd||6-2-8-0|
|Adelaide, Australia (2018)||2nd||33-9-50-3|
|Nottingham, England (2018)||4th||22.5-8-44-1|
|Gros Islet, West Indies (2016)||2nd||26-7-52-2|
|Manchester, England (2014)||2nd||14-1-29-0|
Bumrah was also impressive in his first Test in Australia.
All things said, the game is still evenly poised as India’s record against tail-enders has not been the greatest.