Thrills and spills could never be used to describe a day of Test cricket better than the action that unfolded at Adelaide Oval on Friday.
Forget about the cliche that the third day of a Test is a moving day: in the first Test between India and Australia, things not just moved but hurtled forward at a breakneck pace. Fifteen wickets fell on the day as both teams provided a thrilling spectacle.
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Ashwin Ravichandran bagged four wickets as a dominant India held a 62-run lead at stumps on day two of the Adelaide day-night Test after Australian captain Tim Paine ran out of batting partners.
Paine was left stranded on 73 not out when the Australian innings ended at 191 to trail India’s 244 by 53 runs.
Ashwin had figures of 4/55 while Umesh Yadav took 3/40.
At stumps on day two, India in their second innings were 9/1 with Mayank Agarwal on five and nightwatchman Jasprit Bumrah yet to score. Prithvi Shaw was bowled by Pat Cummins for four as he endured a forgettable few days.
Day two started when Cummins and Mitchell Starc took just 25 deliveries to knock off the final four India batsmen.
Australia in turn struggled to make headway as Bumrah, Ashwin and Yadav worked their way through the batting order.
Even with India spilling five chances at the very least, they never allowed Australia to settle apart from a determined Paine who plugged on to his eighth half century, aided in part by being dropped by Agarwal on 26.
It was Paine’s only misstep and he brought up his 50 off 68 deliveries with an assured cut to the boundary.
As his confidence grew he produced a reverse sweep to move into the 60s with a four off Ashwin.
After Australia took 28 balls to get their first runs on the board, Bumrah stepped up to remove openers Matthew Wade and Joe Burns for eight each before dinner.
Ashwin’s spin captured the wickets of Steve Smith, Travis Head and Cameron Green between dinner and tea with Smith, the world’s premier batsman, facing 29 deliveries for his sole run.
In the final session, Yadav took Marnus Labuschagne and Cummins to expose the tail and joined Ashwin to take the final two wickets of Nathan Lyon and Josh Hazlewood.
Labuschagne survived long enough in the middle to be Australia’s second-highest scorer with 47, but his wicket was always under threat.
He was dropped three times before his luck ran out after tea when he was trapped in front by Yadav.
It was a fruitful over for Yadav, who removed Cummins before he could score.
The India innings wrapped up quickly on the second morning with the last four wickets adding 11 runs in 25 deliveries.
But the tourists’ problems started in the final session the previous day at 188 for three, when Virat Kohli was run out to spark a spectacular collapse which saw their last seven wickets fall for 56 runs.
Starc and Cummins, who shared the final four dismissals, were the pick of the Australian bowlers, Starc finishing with four for 53 and Cummins taking three for 48.
(With AFP inputs)
India 1st innings: 244 all out
Australia 1st innings: 191 all out
India 2nd innings: 9/1, lead by 62 runs